The Comedy At Times: Peele knows how to put comedy into his work and often to maximize the laughs. He does this very well again, using so little to accomplish so much without trying. His skits with Keele showed putting a lot of energy, but for Nope, the comedy is much more controlled, dropped in at the right times to try and offset the tension. Peele manages to put a lot of fun into the writing from the blunt delivery of Kaluuya's lines to the energetic come get some of Palmer's character Em, it just comes off natural and is not too wedged in to get in the way of the movie. It's also sprinkled nicely throughout the movie, and finding the right time to spice up the moment.
The Pace Mostly: For a movie that promised to be elevated horror and potentially very deep, the pacing was decent for this writer. Nope starts out the same style of Peele's work, taking lots of time set up the pieces and give you inklings of how everyone will be connected. Then as the events start to happen, he manages to ramp things up and start focusing on uncovering elements, all while still focusing on that character development. It's the intrigue that pulled me in, trying to see what the next the level to the story was all while trying to discover the twist he had in store. The pace continued to be like that for much of the film, until right about the end where things changed, but for about 75% of the movie, the pace was thrilling for this horror movie.
The Twist: Peele has always found a way to put his shocking imagination to the works and really keep you guessing as to what the spin to the story will be. Once again, he does not fail to deliver, bringing with it elevated levels of viewing the world and clever symbolism to show the state of the world. His use famous verses and quotes, mixed with subtle signs and visual aids, all work to be that level of poetic disposition he does so well, allowing one to interpret the message to their liking. And yet, for those who just want straight gimmicks and entertainment, Peele is there to give you an odd change to formula that may or may not be impressive to you. For me, he again uses it well and gives the science fiction genre a nice refresh that has plenty to offer the horror element, some shots he used very well to display it. That thrill part really makes the story take a new element and the way he integrates in the odd manner at the end.
The Horror Elements/Tension: Now we are getting to the stuff most care about for the genre, and in this film the horror elements are certainly creative and well done at times. Nope works on several levels to give you the chills experience, starting with the odd and offset, where just enough hints are given to bait you, but have not given everything away. They then start adding tension to the mix, using elements to build up the moment with use of shadows, the feeling of abandonment and the use of shadows. Soon, crazy things start getting immersed into the movie, and the sickening elements bleed in, nods to the classic horror movies, as the disturbing visuals get their moment creep you out. Finally, the tension at the end as the whole finale hits, gives you that intensity to help maintain the edge, but drops the horror element for something else. Again, there is a wicked nature to the whole thing that darker beings will love to watch.
The Acting: You've heard it from many, but no surprise, Nope has an A game of cast to bring this movie to life. Once more, all the cast hits their shining moment and brings that intricacy that the film needs to make sure it comes off creepy. For the big three though we have a few more words to say. Perea is the guy who is the blend of both characters, the sort of comedic support a film needs to help offset the horror. He's a fun character to dive into and certainly makes for an entertaining lead with plenty of jokes to throw into the fire. However, the two leads are the brother and sister duo of OJ and Em, and the group who portray them. Palmer is energetic, bringing sass and fire that is trying to bring the ranch to modern times and challenge the threat at hand. She's the visionary of the group, and her energy livens up the rather serious tone without shattering the believability or elements of the story. It really works and she executes it so well that you can't help but get pulled into all the traits she brings. As for Kaluuya, he transitions well into the modern cowboy roles and I was very impressed with how much he was able to do with so few words spoken. There is just something in his performance and mannerisms that works so well, and I was very happy to see how Peele used his talents to really make the simplistic character layered in comedy, story, and just plain laughs.
The Cinematography: By far, my favorite was the cinematography and the sound that went with it. Nope is all about the right shot to get the moment perfectly terrifying and Peele's team did it beautifully in bringing the odd encounter to life. Shadows as mentioned earlier are deceptive and haunting, leaving you feeling isolated, but yet watched. The angles of the saucer attack grip you into the experience and find a way to make the whole ordeal as gruesome and terrifying as you expect. Even the emotional moments has all the right direction to them and I felt the presence of every moment in the presentation they brought us. Thrown in great sound elements to back it up, or lack of it some cases, and Nope's technical aspect achieves great thing for this reviewer to make it worthwhile to visit in theaters.
Plot Holes/Underused Elements: I agree with other reviewers that Peele's plot seemed a little less put together as some of his other works. Nope holds a lot of elements to it, but in terms of complete character story, full on challenges, and even answers to some brimming questions the movie does not quite wrap things up as neatly as he does. The random film element tie in for one character is certainly interesting, but is this awkward tangent that is more a symbolic poke at something and could have been left out. A legendary camera man seems to have a lot prowess and logic, but then things happen to counter that, subtle hints being seen that don't quite make sense and seem a bit hurried. Even Angel's background is sort of like a stoner secondary character that would have been nice to flesh out. All in all, these elements are present enough to get you thinking and serve as the sword slash to modern day culture, but don't quite fit as nicely together like other parts of his movies.
Cross the Line a Little On One my elements: I can't really say much without ruining a twist, but there is a bit of animal cruelty in this movie that is not my particular taste. As human as many productions are, there are some portrayals that I'm just not a fan of watching and Peele sometimes cross the line for me. I have to give him props for keeping it relevant, but there were other moments I would have preferred not to see.
A Few Random Elements That Seemed Jammed In: This has to do with the ending where a lot of things happen very quickly in the climactic finale. Particularly the introduction of a random character whose name holds the symbolic nature, the smoothness of the final moment is mediocre for this reviewer. These elements may have held more shine in the poke fun at modern times role, however story wise seemed out of place and less useful than just adding more to the other characters we were already invested in. Sure, Peele does have some set up to help out and throw real world logic into it, but it just did not seem useful given what was about to happen.
The Pacing: As mentioned, the pace is definitely interesting for about 70-75% of the film, but that other part is a little up and down for me. Watching it unfold at times, the movie drags a bit, going down this element that is supposed to mean something big, but again barely fits into the ordeal they are crafting. Meanwhile, the ending seems very rushed, with things happening that just don't make sense nor have the tie ups I like to see in his work. There are "changes" that happen to the characters, but they are so sudden with only tidbits of dialogue to support them that you wonder a bit more why they did what they did. Watching breakdowns from the artistic point works, but as for story elements it's a bit disappointing for the average viewer.
Nope is a movie with an interesting name, and like most of Peele's work an interesting premise for both artistic sakes and horror sakes. He finds a way to merge the three worlds of mystery, horror, and sci-fi into this layered film, that is pretentious, but still holds entertaining elements that we like to see. Great acting, a deep story, horror elements that take advantage of so many things, alongside supreme visuals are the keys to what makes this movie hold a lot of bite. It's weird, it's convoluted, and yet it works if you can get onboard with his trippy thriller work from the past. However, the movie is not my favorite of the bunch and does not quite get the smoothness that I've seen in the past of this film. It's rushed at times, boring at others, with a story element running tangent that does not quite mesh as well as other origin elements of previous works. Still, it's a fun movie with a few moments worth rewatching, and for those enjoying symbolic takes of the times, worth even more views to dissect all Peele has crammed into the film. Definitely worth a trip to the movies for this one, and I encourage you to take a moment and view it where you can.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 7.0.
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