Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Nope Movie Review

Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer & Brandon Perea (r) star in Nope

The Oprah Shot

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Caretakers at a California horse ranch encounter a mysterious force that affects human and animal behavior. Directed by Jordan Peele.

Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven Yeun, Brandon Perea, Michael Wincott and Keith David.

What's Good: First, the obvious: Peele is an extraordinary filmmaker, and the likeliest (true) successor to Steven Spielberg (apologies to J. J. Abrams.) Nope is definitely not what you think it is, and I couldn't be happier. It's entertaining from the word go... a slow boil that features plenty of suspense, "6:13 of havoc" and a number of stellar performances. Kaluuya is absolutely fantastic, as is Palmer (as OJ's dynamo/polar opposite younger sister.) The former might be the most interesting actor in all of Hollywood, and the latter a bonafide star in the making. Together, they are a joy to behold, executing Peele's clever story to near perfection.

What's Not: Nope peaks before the two-hour mark, and the ending is a bit too muddled for my taste. Not enough to disappoint, mind you, but Peele's bar is awfully high.

Budget: $68 million

Runtime: 135 minutes (20-25 minutes too long.)

Target Audience: Get Out, Us, anything Spielberg.

Bottom Line: Peele hints at a "despicable filth" at the start, but there's nothing despicable or dirty in this movie. The pace is great, the performances appropriately subdued (save for Palmer's purposely over-the-top turn) and it combines multiple genres (horror, science fiction & suspense) into one of this year's best films.

GradeB+ (The ending needs a bit of work, but it's still highly entertaining.)