“You’re my De Niro”
Famous words from Director Jordan Peele to Daniel Kaluya in an Empire interview. And it’s a sensational way of talking about the kind of skill Kaluya wields on-screen after his Oscar winning turn in the Director’s debut film, Get Out. A skill which he brings to the fore once again in NOPE.
We’re in a TV studio. A bizarre event has occurred on set and a character looks to camera. You’re then left wondering what that has to do with what was maybe a film about a family on a farm dealing with aliens. More mysterious events unfold and you’re left wondering yet again what is going on and what’s the overall theme. After the heavily charged messages of Get Out and Us, Peele has settled on a simple one for this:
While it may not be so clear cut, with adventure also weaving its way throughout, it’s an ode to sci-fi. And Kaluya, along with Keke Palmer, deliver this entertaining romp with aplomb, even when you’re uncertain of it. I try to avoid other reviews or commentary about media I need to talk about, but one thing I saw I feel I can definitely agree with and say is true:
The first half is slow, but the second half is full-speed ahead.
And when it ramps up, it makes the slow burn all the worthwhile. Careering into its full-blown Close Encounters Of The Third Kind conclusion, with a menagerie of interwoven action montages from other films of the genre, it finds a satisfaction in the way it comes back to telling a different sort of tale. The bizarre event comes to explain the how and why, leaving a tinge of mystery akin to Peele’s previous works.
It won’t be the tale you expect. But it satisfies enough to make you say “YEP”.
Now this is Cowboys VS. Aliens!
Remember how that was a film? Anyway, NOPE is another outstanding feature from Peele that plays to the strengths of Kaluya and Palmer. Reflecting the sibling dynamic with ease, they carry you through the smaller moments which lead to the bigger pay-off toward the end. And the stuff that doesn't make sense, just look a little deeper and you'll see it.