Jordan Peele is a genius. Nobody can tell us otherwise. His films are absolutely incredible, and each one has a deep meaning that sparks a ton of conversation once the credits have rolled. His latest film, Nope, is out now. And while we know there is more to it, our current thought is it seems to be a cautionary tale about just what it means to go viral in this age of social media.
We realize that the premise of Nope centers on an alien invasion. So, this is just our theory on what the movie is about. With Peele, there are a ton of meanings we can gather from every one of his films. To this day, we are still analyzing all Get Out and Us.
In Nope, OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) witnesses his father Otis (Keith David) be killed by some unseen force. The hospital tells him that it was some falling plane debris. But that’s later disproven when OJ sees a giant UFO in the sky that takes one of their horses away. He shares what he saw with his baby sister Emerald (Keke Palmer).
This new piece of information sparks something in Emerald. She thinks that she and OJ need to get it on videotape — to get the “Oprah Shot.” Once they do, it will skyrocket them to fame.
The Haywood family Ranch has been around for years. And it’s the only horse ranch run by a Black family. After losing their father, OJ has been doing what he can to preserve the legacy and the family business. It’s not without challenges. He’s even considered selling the ranch to Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yuen), who’s looking to expand his Gold Rush-themed park, Jupiter’s Claim.
Emerald doesn’t agree with him and thinks that if they get recognition for capturing an actual UFO on video, the fame will help the business continue. From the type of person OJ is, he doesn’t appear to be enthusiastic about the idea. If anything, to us, it felt like his reasoning was to be able to truly see what killed their dad. This is what makes him get on board with Emerald’s plan.
They enlist the help of Angel (Brandon Perea), a Fry’s Electronics employee, to hook up a high-tech camera system all over the ranch. Once everything’s set up, the craziness really begins. The three quickly learn that the UFO, which is this weirdly oblong-shaped force that glides through an unmovable cloud, does not like being watched. It shuts down electronic devices whenever they are near, and this includes the cameras.
The UFO, which “Jupe” refers to as “the viewers,” does, however, seem to like to watch everyone else. OJ is the one who points out to Emerald and Angel that it only seems to attack people who look at it. Therefore, he instructs everyone not to look at it. That’s obviously hard to do because our natural instinct when we see something unusual is to look at it.
This leads us back to our theory that part of what Nope is about is the concept of going viral.
As we said, Emerald’s main goal with getting the UFO on tape was to gain recognition in Hollywood. At least more than they have as the only Black owned horse trainers. We live in a world where everything must be captured on film. Because if we don’t film it, then it didn’t happen. The problem with this is that filming the UFO becomes a life-or-death situation. This is also a reminder that people would literally die to make a viral moment happen.
When Emerald realizes she may have bitten off more than she can chew, she tries to duck out. Because going viral was never OJ’s intention in the first place, he chooses to stick around. The family business is important to him, and he wants to do the work his father left him to do. Now, he also wants to dive deeper into capturing the UFO. Emerald does, ultimately, stay on the ranch. She, OJ, and Angel all work together to devise a plan to not only capture the footage they need but also to stop the UFO before it can take anymore lives.
One of the other reasons we truly feel Nope is a film about what happens when we want to capture everything on film is because of the UFO itself. It’s one of the strangest UFOs I’ve ever seen in any film. It has this weird appearance of being this solo living entity. There are no little green men inside to pull people in for alien experimentation.
Peele even takes us inside the membranes of the UFO a couple times, and it’s creepy. It has undulating parts that suck a person in, and it’s frightening.
The even weirder thing about the UFO is when it does fully open up, it looks like a camera. I know that’s strange, but it literally made me think of the shutters on a camera because of the way it opens up. Any time a person would look up, it would immediately grab them. It’s almost like the UFO was taking people for its own memories. Earlier in the film, Emerald actually says the words “it’s in the cloud.” Anyone who knows anything about the photos we take with our phones, knows everything is “stored in the cloud.” I would also like to point out the irony of a TMZ cameraman being taken by the UFO was not lost on me.
There are still so many more theories we could discuss as it pertains to Nope, but this was just one that we wanted to break down. We know we’re going to be talking about this film for awhile, and it will take a few more watches to grasp everything.
One thing we can say is that even if you’re not looking to go into this film and analyze every single frame, it provides the perfect amount of horror. It had a lot more jump scares than I was expecting and a few moments that will make you cover your mouth and say, “what the [insert whatever expletive you like].”
We’ve already added Nope to our list of top films of 2022. We highly recommend seeing it in IMAX if you can. It’s thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat by the end, and the last 10 minutes will have your heart racing. It’s an incredible film, and Jordan Peele has given us another classic that will last for years to come.