"The cinematic image is not an objective one. In its pathological need to entertain, to thrill, to be sold to an audience, it must do violence to the reality of its subjects. Much like the cinema, Nope’s UFO is an object that eats up trauma and spits out anything fake. During its many violent abductions, we are forced to listen to the horrified screams of the people or animals that are swallowed by the craft.

It seems to be no coincidence that, in one of the film’s opening shots, we see Muybridge’s Horse in Motion superimposed over the night sky, the shot in question projected from within the alien craft itself. For Peele, the UFO seems to represent something foundational to the moving image.

In their quest to capture an image of this UFO, the Haywoods are in some way – just like Peele – attempting to tap into that spectacle, to tame this hungry, violent beast with their camera.

Cinema can be an exploitative, violent tool. Just like Nope’s UFO, the medium echoes with the pain of those it has destroyed in service of entertainment. Yet in spite of this, we continue to set up our camera, desperately trying to capture that next astonishing, impossible image."

My least favourite Peele film, but an interesting one to unpack. Reviewed for The Saturday Paper.

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