Nope ★★★

GET OUT took less than a year to become a landmark in the history of horror films and influence many other movies and TV shows. While it directed spectators towards a single narrative and interpretation, US was more diffuse. Fuzzy B's comparison to the Theater of the Absurd made sense, but the final third of US strained too hard to explain the film and its subtext. NOPE is far more enigmatic - I'm not gonna offer any spoilers here, but they wouldn't be the answers one would guess from the trailer. Peele has said that his original cut ran almost 4 hours, and while NOPE is his longest film, it could've used one or two more edits. The problem is more pacing than length itself - the first half hour over-indulges slow-burn, while Jupe (Steven Yeun) gets so little time that he's more walking symbol than character. This is Peele's most handsome-looking film, with splendid vistas of the sky and desert. It has plenty on its mind, using the word "spectacle" more often than Guy Debord, but it communicates through images and moods. The result certainly communicates a spirit of low-key desperation, exemplified in the scene where O. J. (Daniel Kaluuya) walks through an abandoned rodeo, among Hollywood hangers-on, even downright victims of the industry. But there's no emotional pull to the film; maybe a different edit would have flesh out the relationship between O.J. and his sister Emerald (Kiki Palmer). As it is, even they play like figures moved around a landscape. Ironically, it falls victim towards the impulse to spectacle that it decries. It has many exciting scenes, and I respect its avoidance of easy answers, but given the high hopes around any Peele-directed project and the slow rollout of several trailers, actually watching it felt slightly anticlimactic.

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