NOPE Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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NOPE Review

Yes! Says Alexander Wallace.
Without question, Jordan Peele is perhaps the brightest rising star in the horror genre. Get Out attracted immense mainstream acclamation, and Us brought further renown (and scared the hell out of everybody in the process). Today, we shall turn to his most recent cinematic endeavor, tackling the well-worn mythos of UFOs: 2022’s Nope (incidentally, the first film I saw in theaters since everything locked down).

It becomes quite clear fairly early on that Nope is one of those Hollywood films that takes some joy in being navel-gazing, exploring the environment of the movie business in southern California with the clear touch of an insider. The protagonists run a company providing horses for movie sets, and most of the characters are involved, in one way or another, with the movie business (and the way that the company upon which the narrative focuses has an interesting little tie-in to the history of film, one that I was satisfied to have recognized). When not in Hollywood itself, you are in the desert outside of Los Angeles, a desolate, barren land that feels out of a Western, and empty enough for Peele’s horrors to make use of it superbly.

I remember one of the friends I went with to the theater saying that for the first third of the film he had no idea where the plot was going. I sympathized; the first half, maybe, is filled with very strange, seemingly disparate scenes and plot elements that only make sense by the film’s end. That dissonance itself is incredibly eerie, an unease that I would imagine that an ant feels when it walks into a human home.

Peele’s take on UFOs is one that is not done much in modern depictions thereof. It is wildly original, however, and the veteran science fiction fan will be pleased with it. Peele has made his aliens really, truly alien, and it just feels odd in the best, most unnerving way possible. It feels very old school, in a good way; once you do some post-film curious googling you will see that was very intentional on his part.

Going back to the Hollywood component of this film; it’s a film that I suspect is Peele’s way of commenting on how the film business works. It is a film about playing god with nature, and forgetting that living beings have agency and not mere tools to satisfy the ambitions and egos of the prideful. Peele is biting the hand that feeds him, but the hand knows that the man behind the mouth is the man upon which it stands, and that’s probably the only reason why he can get away with as much as he can. Once you see this metaphor working quietly in the shadows, it enhances the entire viewing experience.

Nope is another triumph, but that is what I have come to expect from Peele. Am I wrong to do so? He’s hit three home runs in a row! That’s incredible! Nope makes me want to buy a season pass to Peele’s career, but nice seats in a theater will doubtlessly suffice.

Alexander Wallace is an alternate historian, reader, and writer who moderates the Alternate History Online group on Facebook and the Alternate Timelines Forum on Proboards. He writes regularly for the Sea Lion Press blog and for NeverWas magazine, and also appears regularly on the Alternate History Show with Ben Kearns. He is a member of several alternate history fora under the name 'SpanishSpy.'

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