Nope is filmmaker Jordan Peele’s third feature film as director. The film is a giant trick puzzle that challenges the audience.
After Get Out (2017) and Us (2019), Jordan Peele has become one of Hollywood’s most famous and stylish filmmakers. He made his mark thanks to works with unique plots, many metaphorical details; often use horror and mockery on the surface to criticize social injustices – often racism against black people.
Nope also extends this inspiration circuit. The work has always been a great mystery to the mass audience since the first image was released – a huge cloud hovering in the night sky with colorful pennants sticking out from the bottom corner. And, to be fair, even though Nope has hit theaters, viewers still have some difficulty in fully grasping the messages conveyed in the 135-minute film. But like Get Out or Us, this is positive bewilderment, prompting the audience to continue digging into the unknown.
The Mystery of the Murder Cloud
In Nope, two brothers from a hereditary family that train horses for Hollywood studios, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald (Keke Palmer) discover an unusual object in the sky. This thing is magical, but at the same time exudes a sense of danger, evil. While OJ and Emerald still had doubts about what was floating in the sky, their neighbor – obsolete actor and theme park owner Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) – was ready. ready a grand plan to follow that “thing”.
Watching the film, viewers will realize when trying to tell a story that reaches beyond the sky, Jordan Peele has been heavily influenced by Steven Spielberg. The Nope script has no shortage of details reminiscent of many of the works that Spielberg has directed. The battle of the brothers OJ and Emerald has the imprint of Jaws (1975) while the story of Jupe and Gordy is like the R-label version of ET (1982). The story of the silent terror of the mysterious “thing” on the community living in the wilderness has the atmosphere of the movie Twilight Zone (1983) or War of the Worlds (2005).
Nope “scares” the audience by throwing them into the wild, vast landscapes with sky, clouds, mountains, and bare hills that attract the eye.
However, the above influence does not have a negative effect on the overall work. With Nope, Jordan Peele succeeded in creating a visual feast on screen. To realistically portray the threat lurking in the sky, Peele collaborated with director of photography Hoyte van Hoytema – a name that has been with filmmaker Christopher Nolan in many epic blockbusters such as Interstella (2014), Dunkirk (2017) or Tenet (2020).
Together, and with the help of advanced cinematography, they brought the audience to the vast expanse of the arid California wilderness. That space is depicted not only in height from the ground to the sky, horizontally from the top of the mountain to the hill on the other, but also in the spatial depth – through the shadow of the clouds falling to the ground, The echo every time the character talks, contrasting the high volume music resounding inside the house with the very small sound heard from the vast distance outside the house…
A scene clearly influenced by Nope .’s ET
The smooth coordination between the image and the sound is the key to Nope’s success in fostering emotions for the audience. About 70% of the film takes place in foreign settings, with the character standing alone in the sight of a predator without any shelter. Movies often use panoramic scenes, grand scenes to emphasize that contrast. Standing in front of the vast nature, people must feel small, even giving rise to the feeling that they are being tied under an invisible pressure layer.
Jordan Peele’s answer
Many writers liken Jordan Peele to a magician when he can hypnotize viewers, making them immerse in the virtual reality they built. At first glance, that world is very normal when there are long sitcoms like autumn or a cast of characters with countless worries about food and money. Films directed by Peele always have such an opening, until the “scratch” appears in the form of an anomalous detail, instilling in the viewer a vague feeling of skepticism and fear.
With Nope, in the very first seconds, Peele made the audience uneasy when he placed a blue shoe in the middle of the frame, standing at a 90-degree angle from the ground even though there was no fulcrum around. This is the anomaly among the many ordinary things we are looking for. The shoe is like a question mark that the longer you look, the question “Why?” will repeat with increasing volume in the audience’s head.
Nope’s “UFO hunting” trio with two useless people and a fun guy
Before Nope, the audience had hypothesized that if the titles of Peele’s two previous films were combined, we would have a threatening command “Get out (of) Us” or “Get out of America.” . This is considered a metaphor for the racism against black people in the United States – the inspiration for the works of Jordan Peele. When combining Nope into this series to form a trilogy, following the classic formula of money making in the cinematic capital, the title of the film will be like an answer. Suggestion: “Get out of America”. Answer: “No”.
Jordan Peele’s films have always made space to celebrate the African-American community. In Get Out, the rich white people yearn for the strength and toughness of black people. All three films use African folk music as the background music for the breath-taking sequences. With Nope, Emerald proudly introduces her ancestors who appeared in the first animation when the projection technique was born. This means that humanity’s first cinematic frame was devoted to capturing the image of a person of color.
Nope spends time recreating the fate of the people behind the camera in the age of digital technology
When it comes to his community, in Nope, Jordan Peele not only tells the history of black outcasts and oppression, but also honors the artists who have dedicated their lives to the art of cinema – whether they stand in front of or behind the camera. He tells the story of a multi-generational family attached to the job of training horses for film crews, about an eccentric filmmaker who is willing to exchange his life for a moment of artistic sublimation, and happiness. that movies bring to the actors themselves and their audiences.
Of course, Peele did not paint the picture of the film industry with only bright colors. Although fleeting, the moment when OJ led Lucky to sneak out of the studio at the same time the crew brought in a fake horse model was a moment that contained many stories. It is a tragedy when the advancement of technology causes many parts of the traditional film crew to be gradually eliminated. People demand fast and safe things instead of putting authenticity first.
The chosen one or the lucky one?
Temporarily putting the layer of meaning related to the history of people of color aside, the story in Nope brings viewers back to an age-old issue: the relationship between humans and nature. Are humans, with their superior intelligence, a species favored by a mysterious green being in the evolutionary race or just those who benefit by chance luck? Holding the ultimate weapon that is intelligence, how will humans face other species?
Little Jupe and the chimpanzee Gordy are two lost faces in the midst of an all-white sitcom. In a horrible accident during filming, Jupe was the only one to escape. Gordy’s madness dissipated when he saw Jupe hiding in fear under the table. In that moment, it seemed that a spiritual link had been connected between the two beings. He entered adulthood with a declining acting career, inversely proportional to the fantasy that he was the one chosen by fate to touch the sacred moment.
Jupe’s whole life was stuck in thoughts about whether he was the chosen one by fate
Is there a hierarchical relationship in which humans have the upper hand, using their tricks to tame forces of extraordinary strength? That anxiety constantly haunts Jupe, prompting him to carry out a crazy plan. Like the OJ family of horse trainers, Jupe wanted to tame the dangerous thing lurking in the sky. Jupe was filled with confidence because he had almost done the same thing with Gordy before.
However, the man was twice wrong. In the eyes of the great being in the sky, he was not a beast tamer but just one of countless prey. Similarly, in the life-and-death moment when confronting Gordy, Jupe was simply lucky because at that time, the chimp’s madness trigger – a bunch of colorful balloons continuously exploded, creating a chirping sound. lord – is no more. Two wrongs cannot make one right. Two disastrous misunderstandings only lead to an irreversible disaster.
Unfortunately, Jordan Peele did not weave Gordy’s story more closely into the main storyline, making it ultimately just a matter of Jupe’s privacy and quite innocuous to the two main protagonist brothers. Jupe’s relationship with OJ and Emerald is also quite loose. By normal scenario logic, Jupe would be a villain. He plotted to buy OJ’s horses as decoys, but the steps were not drastic enough, or on screen, Jupe didn’t have the opportunity to seriously pursue that goal.
Peele also did not return to the question “Why is the shoe standing up?”. Is the shoe just there, like one of the many “unbelievable but real” moments that the characters repeat over and over in the film – often to remind each other they need more convincing evidence than that – or is it convincing? serve any other purpose? Is it a metaphor, or is it just like the mysterious pineapple in How I Met Your Mother – made important entirely by the spectator’s inference?
In Nope, besides the suffocating survival story, the audience is also treated to a warm brotherly love story
After confirming the existence of the bizarre thing in the sky, OJ and Emerald planned to photograph it to raise money to pay off their debt. On the one hand, this is the brothers’ ambitious life-changing effort. On the other hand, it is the amplification of the ambition to tame the wild, making it serve itself as mentioned at the beginning of the film through Jupe’s story.
The old film crew that used Gordy as an actor had a disaster. The Haywoods once prospered by making a living by training horses, but now are also deeply in debt. The talented director because he wanted to learn about the creature that was hiding in the sky, he also had to die. Will OJ and Emerald’s attempt succeed? Jordan Peele’s views on this concern may have been contained in the title itself.
Jordan Peele and his crew managed to keep their movie a secret until the very end. In a moment at the end of the official trailer, the audience sees a UFO-like object appear among the dust, chasing the male lead. What the audience sees in the trailer is exactly what is hiding among the clouds. But from that discovery to the moment they named it right is a very long journey, a story that “you’ve seen it before, you won’t be the same person you were before” – quotes Jupe.
Photo: Monkeypaw Production