I suspect that not everyone will agree with my statement, but it seems to me that Jordan Peele is the most overrated filmmaker of the new generation. Ever since he appeared with the good, but by no means revolutionary and genius “Get Out”, everything this comedian-turned-horror author has been doing has generated incredible hype. I have a feeling that when Peele farts, an army of American critics write eulogies that it was a subversive, carefully thought-out fart whose tune might not be understood by everyone, but it was certainly one of the best farts of the year. Huge hype was also created around his new film, and “Nope”, just like the previous “Us”, turned out to be at best an average and solid film that could be described as a combination of sci-fi, thriller, horror, black comedy, satires and neo-westerns.
I just can’t understand all the tales of depth, subversiveness, social criticism that can be read about “Nope”, comparisons with David Lynch or Steven Spielberg because this is almost a light summer romp on the trail of “Independence Day”. Of course, it doesn’t have to mean anything bad at the start, but from all that noise I was expecting some High Concept madness, and I got a rather banal SF action thriller that isn’t particularly original. True, Peele must be recognized not only for marketing his films well, but also for training himself to be a solid director with a sense for suspense and delay, but also for throwing in some surprises when the viewer least expects it.
Neither is this film, but fortunately in the smallest dose so far, devoid of racial connotations, but something insidious that looms over the farm of the family of the first black horse trainers in America, chooses neither race nor class. After the death of his father Otis (Keith David, who is still best remembered from Carpenter’s “The Thing” and “They Live”), Otis Junior, or for his friends OJ (Daniel Kaluuya, who already worked with Peele in “Get Out”), took over the farm. And his job is not going very well, and he hasn’t even recovered from the shocking death of the old man who was killed by pieces of the plane that broke away. Or at least that’s the official version, until the introverted OJ and his extroverted sister Emerald (Keke Palmer) think there might be some extraterrestrial activity going on.
And as any honest member of today’s younger generation would probably do, Emerald will remember that they could try to film alien activity over their farm and make money, maybe end up on Oprah. They’ll be joined by the guy who sold them the recording equipment as well as the eccentric cameraman Antlers Host (kudos to Peele for plucking British character actor extraordinaire Michael Wincott). Of course, the prey they were thinking of recording and profiting from those videos will soon turn into a hunter, a dangerous trait that is not to be trifled with, but luckily the brother and sister have ideas on how to put salt on his tail.