- Amir Steklov
NOPE - (2022)
Director: Jordan Peele.
First, I'm happy people pay money to watch anything besides Marvel, it's about time Hollywood produce new original blockbusters and takes more risks.
Nope is NOT a good movie though.
The biggest problem is the protagonist, who's motivation seems to be petting his horses for eternity, or maybe, just never leave his bed and waste his life by doing absolutely nothing. One could stretch and say his motive is to be more visible and validated as a professional like his father was, but this protagonist doesn't really asks for it: he does absolutely nothing that shows this is what he wants in life.
So, when he confronts the UFO I asked myself, why does he even bother fighting it?
The only story that works in the film is the side story about the Asian Boy (this is how one character calls him) and the chimpanzee who went on a killing frenzy at the TV studio: The story works because this "Asian Boy" has a clear motive: to regain his former glory/celebrity, he invests all of his life and money on the theme park because he believes that's how he will accomplish his life goal. The conflict that hold him back is living with the horrible trauma from the shooting day when the chimpanzee lost control and killed everybody, this memory holds him back from performing good in front of an audience. THUS, when he confronts with the UFO he has a chance to overcome his conflict and do something useful (unlike what he did as a child: hiding under the table) and healing from the trauma. This action he about to take will open a path for him to achieve his life goal.
Jordan Peele misses this opportunity to tell a good story about a complicated protagonist with a strong motive and conflict (maybe because he is just Asian and not Black?) he just lets the UFO kill this character without any meaningful reason.
This is why I think Peele lacks the basic understanding of cinema and storytelling. - And yes, I watched his previous films, and I didn't liked them for the same reasons: he prioritizes black characters and narratives based on their "race", not based on their character and story arcs.
More ranting: If the protagonist of Nope had any kind of character arc, he might have used his skills as a human who can connect in a special way with animals in order to connect with the UFO, thus making him the only person who can takes it down and save the world. Making him a hero in a MOVIE. But this protagonist doesn't have any real skills. And there is absolutely no reason why he (and only he) should be the one confronting the UFO.
Verdict: 1.5 / 5 ★ - Bad writing.