Updated: Jul 26
Jordan Peele’s new movie NOPE has hit theaters, and everyone is trying to understand it. Jordan Peele is known for infusing social commentary into his movies and this one is no different. The movie focuses on the Haywood Family. They own a movie horse ranch, whose claim to fame is that their great-great-great grandfather was the first person filmed riding a horse. The Haywood patriarch Otis (Keith David) unexpectedly and mysteriously dies in front of his son OJ, which stands for Otis Jr (Daniel Kaluuya). OJ's sister Emerald “Em” Haywood (Keke Palmer), comes to help her brother take care of the ranch. The ranch has some financial issues and OJ starts selling the horses to Ricky “Jupe'' Park (Steven Yeun) who is a former child star that survived a random attack on a sitcom set and is the owner of Jupiter’s Claim.
Source: Universal Pictures Youtube Channel
The disturbing and graphic opening scene sets the tone of the movie, which is about sensationalism and trauma and how we, the public, like to see it, watch it, and comment on it. The alien in the sky is more of the cause of the sensationalism and OJ and Em decided that they should capitalize on it to help save the ranch. Jupe deals with the trauma of his youth by thinking he can control or deal with the aliens at his carnival, Juniper’s Claim. We also meet Angel Torres (Brandon Perea) who attaches himself to the Haywood family when he installs their cameras. He learns of the aliens and decides to help capture the video. The aliens cause an electronic melt down and Em decides to call cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott), who they met on a commercial set that featured one of their horses Lucky.
NOPE is a great commentary on how Hollywood and its audience wants to see the story and wants to see the action but once it’s done, the people involved are an afterthought. Em and OJ start out to use the invader to sensationalize it for money and risk it all to achieve it. Jordan Peele’s use of imagery to convey his message of sensationalism within the midst of horror and being scared was great. The acting of Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Brandon Perrea, and Steven Yeun were all great and they really hit home of how trauma, sensationalism, the need for fame, adoration and money can be achieved, even if their lives may be at stake.
Is NOPE as strong as Jordan Peele’s first two movies Get Out and US? That's up to interpretation. I find that with this movie after you sit with it, reflect upon it, and watch it again, you will see where Peele was going with the movie. I find NOPE a solid outing by Jordan Peele and I’m looking forward to his next thought provoking, yet scary movie.