Diving into Jordan Peele’s Nope (2022)

Daniel Kaluuya and director Jordan Peele behind the scenes
Daniel Kaluuya and director Jordan Peele behind the scenes

Image source: Hollywood Reporter

Nope is the latest film from the mind of Jordan Peele, and despite universal acclaim, it left viewers confused.

The trailer left an ominous impression and revealed nothing. However, most of the speculation turned out to be correct. But how did Peele deal with his most ambiguous work to date?

Many people entered the cinema with no particular expectations, but left with more questions than answers. Warning: the following contains spoilers

Plot

The film opens with a biblical verse (Nahum 3: 6) and revolves around two events: the past, when a chimpanzee goes mad in a sitcom; and the present, when two brothers attempt to film a UFO.

It uses the concept of extraterrestrial life to explore the idea of ​​spectacle (as stated in the opening biblical verse Nahum 3: 6) and the implications of “this idea of ​​attention”.

Peele refers to the show at the beginning of the film when he references Eadweard Muybridge’s first moving image in the 19th century.

While the artist is remembered, the subject (a black jockey on horseback) is forgotten in history.

However, Nope connects the brothers OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) and Emerald Haywood (Keke Palmer) with the jockey who was their great-great-grandfather.

After spotting a UFO on the ranch with their cameras, the brothers set out to capture the first clear evidence of alien life.

Themes

As with his previous films, Jordan Peele provided Nope with sociopolitical commentary.

While “Get Out and Us” delved deeper into the subject matter, Peele decided to take “Nope” in a different direction and make it more visceral and superficial.

“I wrote it at a time when we were a little worried about the future of cinema,” says the director.

“The first thing I knew was that I wanted to do a show…the great American UFO story.”

Black historical documentation

Nope explores OJ and Emerald’s obsession with making history like Muybridge and capturing the best evidence of extraterrestrial life.

At the beginning of the film, Emerald talks about Muybridge’s film, saying:

“Because images can move, we have skin in the game.”

As they make their first attempts with the help of Fry’s Electronics employee Angel (Brandon Perea), they turn to filmmaker Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) for help with the recording.

Although Holst lends his aid, he meets death, forcing Emerald to take matters into her own hands and use all of her strength to get the “Oprah Shot.”

Gordy and Jean Jacket

The film begins in the most confusing way, leaving viewers to wonder if the monkeys were actually part of an invasion.

However, as the story progresses, it is revealed that Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) witnessed the audience’s point of view during the opening.

When Gordy (Terry Notary) recognizes young Jupe (Jacob Kim), they try to punch before Gordy is shot in the head.

Jupe survived the ordeal and believes he can tame Jean Jacket (the alien’s first name). Holst compares Jupe’s fate to that of Siegfried and Roy, who trained white lions and tigers before one attacked Roy and severely wounded him.

Experts and analysts are also comparing Jupe’s attempts to tame Jean Jacket with classic monster movies King Kong and Jurassic Park, both of which resulted in mass deaths in an attempt to create a show.

Easter eggs

  • When OJ rides out to lure Jean Jacket, the shot of him mirrors Muybridge’s clip
  • As well as producing the first film, Eadweard Muybridge was known to have risked his life to take dangerous photographs – a parallel to Antler Holst’s devotion to their craftsmanship.
  • Jordan Peele chose “Nope” as the film’s title to acknowledge the audience’s reaction to the film
  • Jordan Peele based Jean Jacket’s animal form on sea creatures such as jellyfish, squid, cuttlefish, electric eels, and knife ghost fish
  • Peele pays homage to anime: Emerald does the iconic motorcycle slide from Akira (1988) and Jean Jacket’s design was influenced by the Angels from Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995).

Opinions expressed by The Chicago Journal contributors are their own.

Claire Peterson

Claire is a freelance writer and environmentalist whose main topic is all about nature, health, lifestyle, music and travel. She's an outspoken person and joins groups and organizations that protects the animal rights and advocate of nature.

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