"Nope", Jordan Peele's latest thriller/sci-fi-fantasy movie, premiered this weekend. I anticipated another social commentary flick. After all, Peele gave us "Get Out" and "Us." I enjoyed the film once I stopped looking for subliminal messaging.
I am happy "Nope" isn't as heavy-handed. Peele is allowed to make a stand-alone sci-fi-fantasy thriller. I liken "Nope" to M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs." Like Shyamalan, Peele thrills audiences with perfectly timed jump scares and an ominous soundtrack. The score effectively builds suspense. Furthermore, Jordan Peele's take on extraterrestrials is pure genius. (Spoiler Alert) I think I am in the majority when I say I never thought of UFOs as UAPs. A UAP is an unidentified aerial phenomenon. This term is too inclusive and vague, however. I prefer the definition- unidentified aerial predator or alien predator. Peele's monster is frightening because it's simplistic and he offers no explanation for its existence. It moves through the sky like a jellyfish. It hides in plain sight. It sucks up its prey like an anteater. What's more, Peele reminds viewers oftentimes life imitates art imitates life. The tragic Gordy subplot is based on real events. A chimpanzee did go berserk and maim his costar. This made me wonder about the Purple People Eater song that the cameraman sings before the big shooting day. Nursery Rhymes like Ring Around the Rossie and London Bridge is Falling Down are based on real events and people. So, why not The Purple People Eater? Even if it's not rooted in history, Jordan masterfully plants the seeds of suspicion.
Peele also presents Black people as their authentic selves. Neither Keke Palmer's character nor Daniel Kaluuya's character embodies a stereotype. It's depressing to admit, but I'm relieved. (Depressing in the sense that this shouldn't be a rarity) Emerald and Otis Junior are allowed to exist in their humanity. They own property and a business. While they may be out for the "Oprah shot" and are willing to risk their lives to achieve it, they love each other and are willing to sacrifice for the other.
This is why there needs to be more narratives about Black people that are written (and directed) by Black people. To paraphrase Tyler Perry in the Netflix tv series #BlackAF, I didn't write it (Madea) for them, I wrote it for us. Perry took the vernacular he was used to hearing, the mannerisms he was used to witnessing, scenarios he was familiar with, and created successful stageplays.
I've looked over a few early reviews of the film. It seems audiences and critics have been left with more questions concerning the symbols in the movie than answers. They are picking apart the mannerisms of the alien predator from every angle. To these people, I say, "LEAVE JORDAN PEELE ALONE!"
If you go into the theater with the goal of trying to solve all of the mysteries, you will be upset when you leave. The universe is diverse and so are the people and animals living in it. I employ everyone to watch the movie for entertainment. Focus on the humor, the horror, and the love of family.