Nope, Not a Movie About Blacks or Whites
I’ll try to avoid spoilers for this Jordan Peele film for filmmakers.
My views are totally subjective and speculative. Jordan Peele may vehemently disagree with what I am about to say.
In this movie Jordan Peele proves he is on par with Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Stanley Kubrick, and so on. Get Out proved his suspense chops. Nope proves his philosophical depth.
Nope is a virtuoso piece — not for everyone.
If Peele released this movie first I don’t believe he’d get another major film greenlighted. There is suspense in the movie, but when Act III comes along Peele loses complete interest in titillating his audience. He goes into symbolism as risky as anything in a Tarkovsky film. Indeed, I left the film thinking ‘huh, that wasn’t very suspenseful or climactic’.
In the beginning there are some speeches about being black. Some making whites look shallow and vapid. Whoever funded this movies funded it on the first 30 pages. Once that’s out of the way Peele is completely done with racial commentary.
Peele does satire well because he loves the subject he satirizes. In the photo above is the pretentious, but no-nonsense, white director who becomes more involved later in the movie. He is one of Peele’s heroes. Why is he white? Because that’s the history of Western cinema. Although Peele adds to film history in the beginning, he has no interest in re-writing or judging it.
Peele makes sure we care about each character. From the beginning, as a film-buff, I felt like I was in the hands of a master filmmaker. One may not enjoy Nope, but I can’t imagine any filmmaker dismissing this film as the work of a dilettante. Every frame a painting.
I don’t want to give any spoilers. I’ll just say I wish most movies these days had 1% of the attention to detail these filmmakers exhibit. Every minor detail ties together.
I believe Nope is Jordan Peele’s pet project. Every filmmaker wants to get in the position to make the film they want to make, with the least amount of interference.
My interpretation may be totally wrong. But my read of “Nope” is that it is both a callback to Richard Pryor (like his Exorcist joke) and the turning point in the film where Peele says he isn’t going to make a horror film like 99% of all the others, but is going to explore something different — if you don’t like it, too bad.
If you love filmmaking or story-telling I believe you’ll appreciate this film. It speaks the language. It IS the language.
I’ve been down on movies lately. If Peele wanted to cheer me up with Nope he succeeded. Film as art isn’t dead. If you want simple thrills, probably best to go re-watch Get Out.