Jordan Peele Directs Another Memorable Film


Imax/Universal Pictures

Kaluuya stares into the distance while riding a horse in this scene from Nope, directed by Jordan Peele. The movie amassed 171 millions dollars at the US box office.

Ellie Hise, Contributing Writer

My favorite Jordan Peele movie, and maybe the most underappreciated, is his 2022 film Nope. For me this movie checked all the boxes: Afro-Surrealism, non-gory horror, sci-fi, and cowboys. 

It stars Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya, who play siblings that own a horse ranch. The two are forced to outwit a mysterious UFO, using what they know about wild animals. The actors are incredible throughout the entire movie. 

You may have recognized Kaluuya from his role as W’kabi in Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but he has starred in another Peele movie, Get Out. He will also voice Spider-Punk in the Spiderman movie that is set to be released in June of 2023. Clearly, Kaluuya can play a broad range of characters. 

The same can be said for Palmer, who has appeared as the voice of Peaches in many Ice Age movies, but also in thrillers like “Cleaner”, and even the classic “Grease Live!” (remake of the 1978 film and play), the iconic romantic comedy.

They both have unmatched ability when it comes to slight changes in facial expressions, or delivering a punchline that has a deeper meaning. This movie often moves from lighthearted scenes to heavier or more intense scenes abruptly, and Kaluuya and Palmer match that pace.

After watching this movie multiple times, I continue to notice details in the sets and dialogue previously overlooked. Whether it’s the stitching on a jacket or the name of a horse, there isn’t a detail in the film that isn’t laden with meaning.

The stunning visuals and sound design of this movie makes for another memorable aspect. The settings arrest your attention with the dramatic colors and cinematography, and the special effects manage to make a completely fantastical piece of the movie, like the alien, seem real. The sound design complements each scene perfectly, in one scene it becomes hard to untangle the score from the actual sound effects, and in another they play something akin to what you would hear in a spaghetti western, but in a way that doesn’t feel clichè. The sound design is thanks to Johnnie Burn, an artist experienced in horror movies who has won four separate critics awards over the course of his career. 

What I appreciate about this movie is the fact that it serves as an introduction to a lot of genres. As I said before, despite the horror elements, it isn’t hard to watch and, as with other Peele movies, it falls under the genre of Afro-Surrealism. The genre of Afro-Surrealism focuses on showcasing and exploring the perspectives of African Americans through often shocking or fantastical imagery and themes. 

This movie has made my top ten list, and it’s by far my favorite of the ones released in 2022. It absolutely deserves the 25 wins from the Hollywood Critics Association, National Society of Film Critics, and many others. If you haven’t seen it yet, you absolutely should.