The horror infused science fiction film, Nope, set in California, features a mysterious and dangerous unidentified flying object (UFO) in the skies above a family-owned ranch. The story revolves around two siblings, who discover that there is something sinister happening, and want to find solid evidence to prove what they know.

The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Otis Jr. ‘OJ’ Haywood, and Keke Palmer as his sister Emerald ‘Em’ Haywood, in the lead, as two siblings whoco-own a ranch after their father, Otis Haywood, played by Keith David, the owner of Haywood’s Hollywood Horse Ranch is killed by debris that very randomly falls from the clouds.

The film also stars Steven Yeun as their neighbour, Ricky ‘Jupe’ Park, the owner of ‘Jupiter’s Claim’, theme park, who wants to profit out of making a spectacle of the strange and unexplained occurrences above them, by creating a show for an audience and luring the UFO as entertainment, with a horse as bait, but things don’t go to plan. Park’s story also contributes to a subplot, with flashbacks from his childhood, with an aggressively violent chimp on set. This has received criticism for being shown a few times, before completely disappearing from the movie’s backstory. The film has jump scares scattered throughout and is sure to keep viewers guessing what is about to happen next, as the siblings try to find out what is happening and try to capture proof on camera, for stronger evidence of the UFO above them.

Brandon Perea plays Angel Torres, a simple tech salesperson who works for Fry’s Electronics, who after meeting the siblings, takes an interest in helping them get the evidence they need. His role adds to the overall story, giving viewers a fresh point of view in understanding and processing what is happening. Meanwhile, Michael Wincott plays Antlers Holst, a renowned cinematographer, who after initially refusing, comes onboard to try and capture proof of the UFO.

The film keeps viewers guessing, with suspense, supported by visuals with creative cinematography, which helps the story unfold, with the team figuring out how to navigate this new situation around them, while trying to find out if it is a spaceship, sky angel or predator.

Nope does seems lightly lengthy and the pacing may not be for everyone, given that the storyline unfolds slowly with the mysterious phenomenon gradually making a more prominent appearance as an otherworldly UFO. The core plot and story takes shape when the siblings, Torres, and Holst, work together to get the evidence they need, by creating a plan that adds to the film’s overall entertainment value.

The 130-minute film was written, produced and directed by Jordan Peele, the man behind Us (2019) and Get Out (2017), working with producer Ian Cooper, in collaboration with production companies Universal Pictures and Peele’s own Monkeypaw Productions. Made with a budget of 68 million dollars, the film earned over 103.8 million at the worldwide box-office, showered by praise from critics for its cinematography, lead cast’s performance, ambition, and overall direction. Nope received mostly positive reviews, with almost impressive ratings, with 82 per cent featured on Rotten Tomatoes, 77 per cent on Metacritic and 7.5/10 on IMDb.

MPAA rated R, for language throughout, some violence and blood images, the film’s title Nope is rumoured to be an acronym for Not Of Planet Earth, while the film very creatively uses the words ‘nope’ within the film’s dialogue.

Nope is a straightforward film that those who enjoy an old school UFO film with a flying saucer will appreciate, and those who like Jordan Peele’s creative style of storytelling will enjoy, while viewers who just want a straightforward UFO film, would find Monkeypaw’s random subplot to be an unnecessary diversion, that negatively impacts their experience.

By Nirupa Mohan Dore