MOVIE REVIEW: 'Nope' reaches for the sky, but comes up short
In my opinion, Jordan Peele is a rather hit-or-miss director. I quite enjoyed his first film Get Out, but felt his follow-up, Us, left much to be desired. I walked into his newest film, Nope, with a hesitant level of excitement. I'm happy to say that it is another hit. However, some minor elements are not exactly perfect. Regardless of the narrative, the technical elements of Peele's films are always well done. On an audio-visual level, the film delivers a unique and immersive experience. I wouldn't say I was particularly impressed with the way the film was shot, but it was always effective and well thought out. There were a few instances in which the presentation and editing were unclear and it was difficult to comprehend what exactly happened, but this was only in a few scenes. The visual effects in this film range from excellent to subpar. Some of the textures are quite rubbery and never look exactly real. On the other hand, some designs look stunning and are a sight to behold. The structure of this film is where it suffers somewhat. The story takes a long time to get going and the setup isn't particularly interesting. It kept me entertained, but it was not until the third act that I was truly immersed in the experience. There are multiple scenes that are unrelated to the actual narrative and I find difficult to see how they aid the film on a thematic and narrative level. There is definitely an interesting interpretation to be had with many scenes that are outside of the narrative that could connect thematically, but I feel it is a loose connection at best.There are many elements of Nope that are not poorly executed, but simply take a while to connect with the viewer. The biggest example of this is the film’s tone. The marketing of this film led me to believe that it would be a pure horror film, but I would describe it as a science fiction thriller. It is reminiscent of a Steven Spielberg science fiction movie, especially with the score. In certain scenes, the music in the film is presented in a light-hearted Indiana Jones-esque tone. This distracts from the intensity of certain scenes. Luckily, in crucial scenes the score changes and fits perfectly. Nope is a movie that certainly has its flaws and issues, but at the core of the movie is a truly inventive and clever story. Nope is supported by the great performances from Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer. The dichotomy between them is captivating. While it certainly takes a while to get there, once this film hits its stride it meets every expectation.
Nope is currently playing at the Julia 4 Cinema and the Regal Swampfox Cineplex.
Film reviews by Ayan Guha and Thomas Merzlak appear alternatively each month in The News Journal. Guha and Merzlak are juniors in the International Baccalaureate program at Wilson High. Opinions expressed in this review are those of the columnist and not of The News Journal or its staff.