Nope – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, Steven C, Michael Wincott, Brandon Perea, Wrenn Schmidt, Barbie Ferreira, Keith David
In cinemas August 12th
Jordan Peele is the master of the underwhelming movie moniker. This literally tells you nothing about the plot and is the kind of title that you would scroll past if it didn’t have such a calibre of talent attached. Or if you hadn’t seen the extremely creepy teaser trailers that intimated audiences were in for a truly spine-tingling ride.
This is set predominantly on a ranch that trains horses for movies which is run by Otis (Kaluuya) aided by his sister Em (Palmer). They inherited the business after their father died when a nickel shot through his eye in a mysterious incident where random objects started falling from the sky (it all makes sense later in the movie – trust me).
Struggling to keep things afloat, Otis starts selling off the horses to a local Western theme park. As he gets more and more defeated things get even worse when the horses start having reactions to bizarre weather and electrical incidents and they start disappearing one by one. Otis and Em quickly realise that there is something otherworldly going on as a cloud that never moves hovers over the ranch. It is hiding something truly sinister that feeds off whatever it can hoover up. And Otis and Em determine that they will get footage of it to make some money to clear their debts. But to do so they must put their lives and the lives of others at risk.
This is a very simplistic synopsis as so much happens in this movie that to write anything more in-depth would risk serious spoilers. Peele wisely sticks to the kind of old-school scares that get your heart racing for most of the movie. Yes, there is eventually the big CGI baddie reveal but by then you are so creeped out that you don’t even notice that you haven’t been looking at this creation throughout.
His script is incredibly clever with every seemingly minor detail showing its relevance as the story progresses. Ignore any scene here at your peril. Some of these callbacks are incredibly clever and my friend and I found ourselves discussing them for ages after watching.
Kaluuya and Palmer are fantastic. Both have amazing energy and give stunning performances. If this was a drama rather than a horror, they would definitely be nominated for awards. The casting is superb, and everyone does a great job.
My main bugbear is that this takes a while to get going. It seemed to be the main complaint of everyone who attended the screening I did. That and the fact that it was too long. Fifteen minutes could easily have been shaved off this without compromising the story.
Overall, this is a very smart sci-fi horror that will give you a shiver down your backbone. It manages to pay homage to a plethora of great movies while always feeling bold and original. It is sharp, succinct, witty and incredibly creepy and a wonderful addition to the Peele canon.