Three stars for ‘mediocre’ Nope

As written, Jupe isn’t a man addicted to fame, which we’re meant to see him as and which Yeun could certainly have achieved, but a stick figure indicating addiction to fame. In a similar way, Emerald tells a film crew a story about the famous Eadweard Muybridge photographs of a man on a horse, which when run together created what is credited as the first moving image. The identity of the black man on that horse has been lost to history, and his image appears twice in Nope. It’s an eloquent, worthwhile gesture, but Emerald’s mini lecture intrudes on the plot. Peele has rarely been so blunt in his social commentary.

The film does look spectacular at times, with ominous skies and candy-coloured inflatable tube men waving their arms on the ranch. There are sandstorms and eerie special effects, some from the sky and others closer to home. And as always in Peele films, clues and echoes are so detailed and carefully planted that it’s hard to spot everything the first time through. He is still a master filmmaker, and even a mediocre Jordan Peele film is better than the strongest film of an ordinary director. Nope is that mediocre film.

★★★☆☆

Nope is released on 22 July in the US, and on 12 August in the UK.

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