Nope layers a complex story that never pays off

by Gordon Shelly

Jordan Peele has proven himself a quality storyteller and filmmaker, especially in the suspense and horror genres.

Get Out emerged as a wonderful piece of artistic work with the promise of so much more from Peele. Us created a suspenseful, and mysterious, and sometimes horrific, world where reality is not quite what it seems.

And while he didn’t direct Antebellum, his influence in style and storytelling is apparent. Peele, in just a few years, has managed to establish himself as a filmmaker with copying, with others trying to capture the same magic found in Get Out and Us.

In fact, Nope seems an attempt to copy himself. The movie reminds me of the post Sixth Sense efforts of M. Night Shyamalan, where everything in the story becomes about the big twist in the end. Shyamalan has been successful, but nothing has since captured the same amazement as his first effort.

The same goes here for Peele. It’s as though the story is trying so hard to create a multi-layered mystery with some massive twist as its payoff, that it can never live up to those expectations.

Nope is mostly enjoyable and well-acted, but add this style of slow-paced story telling wit the cinematography of Hoyt van Hoytema (Tentet, Dunkirk) and the viewer is left with a story that moves at a snail’s pace – even while the action is happening, we are continually waiting for something more.

While the mystery reminds me of Shyamalan, the pacing reminds of the last few Tarantino movies. There seems to be no one overseeing editing with filmmakers who have proven box office success. What we, the movie-going audience is left with, is a movie (or movies) that should be about one-third shorter.

Peele diehards will likely die on the hill defending this movie as a great work of art (right alongside the Marvel hill of diehards), but it isn’t. It just simply isn’t a great movie.

But is it a movie with great potential? I’m not even sure about that

Gordon’s Grade: C+