Thursday, July 28, 2022

Nope (2022)

I don’t know what Jordan Peele’s personal standards are, but I will say this: This is a good movie, but maybe not by its director’s cinematic standards. Or rather, maybe he wanted to try something more on the sci-fi side with less horror, which I think is a good idea. However, I did not feel much dread or peril watching this film, and that lack of tension made for a pretty but ultimately mediocre experience.

This is a film in which the sullen protagonist’s spunky black lesbian sister keeps the plot moving while the hero essentially just does his job. I can very much relate to his state of mind, but if I were confronted with a situation wherein I had to stalk an abnormal flying entity with the relative uniqueness of the thing portrayed in the film, I would probably enjoy myself more than either the characters or the audience.

It’s fun chasing UFOs/UAPs, and while the film’s theory on what flying saucers are is hard for me to believe in a real-world context, the thing is inherently interesting. That’s all I can say without spoiling the plot. The interestingness is conveyed, but how the characters interact with the thing too systematic and realistic for the type of UFO on display.

Ultimately, the movie did not make me feel anything, despite its auteur’s pedigree. Maybe the theater itself had something to do with it (fuck AMC) or the problem may have been my expectations going in. More than anything, the film reminds me of Harmony Korine’s first “mainstream” film, Mister Lonely (2007). You go in expecting something weird, and instead you get a drama where only the plot is weird but the film presents the plot as mundane. Flat angles, soft lighting, boring.

Maybe I’m being too hard on the film, but they say a hard man is good to find. If I have high expectations for a director, I won’t lower them on a film-by-film basis.