Masterpiece or Pastime?

Yum Yiu ’25

Opinions Editor

Jordan Peele produced another big hit with “Nope” on July 22, 2022. It was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer due to the overwhelmingly positive reviews of Peele’s previous movies. Similar to other Peele fans, I walked into the cinema, expecting another great film from such an established Hollywood director with the uncanny ability to explore thought-provoking themes. Much to my surprise, I did not enjoy the movie as much as I expected I would. When I walked out of the cinema, I was unwilling to think that I had wasted a good two hours of my life –  a part of me refused to believe it was so. 

Peele’s films are always well crafted: He will plant the seed early in the film, hiding it right underneath our eyes. When we notice the seed, it has already flourished into a forest. The afterthoughts that came with this realization gives me shivers to my spine, overwhelmed but inspired. 

The plot of the movie is simple, but questionable. The main characters, played by Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer, spot an unidentified flying object (UFO), and seek to capture it on camera for fame and money. The main characters are not the only ones who want to profit from the UFO; in fact, every character in the film wants to get their fair share. At first glance, you would think that these people are greedy and out of their minds: why would they risk their lives for something like this? Indeed, in most films, protagonists are typically portrayed as those who are not blinded by greed. The characters in “Nope” are foolish, but they are also the most truthful representations of human nature. It is hard to admit, but there are definitely times where my fears are overcome by my greed. 

At first, I thought “Nope” would have no central themes. I knew that it would have great cinematography, but believed that there would not be much else to get out of the movie. I was proven wrong. There are so many themes that are being explored in the movie that it is impossible to take in all of them at once. The criticism of the film industry, using humor to cope with trauma, sacrificing oneself for the sake of art, and much more are explored in this film. A classic does not lose its value just because its readers fail to initially see its value. I think that is the case for “Nope.” Just because I did not find any value in my first viewing does not mean I would not call it a waste of time, especially now that I have had time to reflect on it more. 

I think Peele is planning for a revolution in the film industry. As both the writer and director of the film, he refuses to follow the logic of  blockbuster, popular films that are merely created for the purpose of entertainment. Peele aims for something higher and greater. All of his works are trying to create a world that demonstrates his unique perspective and logic. Peele’s films are art.

Photo from Universal Pictures

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