Jordan Peele captures a spectacle with ‘NOPE’


Universal Pictures 2022 [Fair Use]

“NOPE” stars Hollywood icons Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer in the alien-thriller phenomenon.

Atticus Ross, Staff Writer

“NOPE” is the latest film by Jordan Peele and the third in his horror directorial roster. It follows the Haywood siblings as they try to catch evidence of the extraterrestrial entity terrorizing their rural horse ranch. Peele mixes multiple genres such as horror, sci-fi, comedy and even hints of Western into one package that is “NOPE.”

“NOPE” is the first horror movie to use IMAX cameras, a technique used with special cameras and equipment that produces a 10 times larger image, which allows for unsettling shots of the vast and open sky. These shots leave the viewer’s eyes peeled to the screen as they try to make out any movement or shape. The sky in “NOPE” has the same dangerous connotation as the sea in films like “Jaws.” Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who has worked with directors including Christopher Nolan on “Interstellar,” “Tenet” and even the upcoming “Oppenhiemer,” makes this horror/sci-fi feel like you are watching a blockbuster made for the big screen.

Peele is no stranger to social commentary in his films, and “NOPE” was no exception. The movie’s hard-to-recognize underlying messages draw similarities between his previous films. His previous films, “Get Out” and “Us,” mainly discuss race and societal problems in America. “NOPE” calls out the consumption of Hollywood as well as the exploitation of spectacle and tragedy for fame. 

YouTube star Logan Paul took to Twitter after watching the film and heavily criticized its message. 

“This movie is objectively slow and confusing with stretched-out themes,” Paul said. Although everyone can have different criticisms, many fans of the movie found it ironic Paul of all people didn’t understand its themes after being subject to multiple controversies for his YouTube channel and failed to realize the film is calling out people exactly like him.

Some standout performances are Daniel Kaluuya, who starred in Jordan Peele’s first film “Get Out,” and Keke Palmer. Both embody their roles as siblings and show off their range as actors, especially during the climactic ending. Also, newcomer Brandon Perea was a scene stealer who easily captured the viewer’s attention.

Perea mentioned in an interview Peele rewrote the whole script to add a role just for him after seeing his audition. Peele’s trend in his films is giving the spotlight to people of color as lead characters. This gives the opportunity to an underrepresented group not only in the film industry, but also in horror, a genre that has been historically white-dominant.

Like all Jordan Peele films, “NOPE” sticks with viewers after the credits roll. He does not shove the message and themes down the audience’s throat; instead, he leaves them to decipher and form their own opinions, which is why “NOPE” has so many different themes and subjects to tackle. Having seen the film twice, I can definitely say that with more watches, I will discover even more things I missed, because it is just one of those films that needs more than one watch. Also, if you are to watch “NOPE,”  I would recommend trying to find the biggest screen to fully immerse yourself in Peele’s vision because “NOPE” is a spectacle to behold.