So you’ve just seen Jordan Peele’s new sci-fi horror blockbuster, Nope. Maybe you have questions about how things turned out in that thrilling finale, or you’re stuck wondering what the movie should Actually wear on.
When I walked out of a screening a little over a week ago, the feeling that I didn’t understand the big message of Peele’s latest film weighed on me like an ominous cloud over the Southern California desert. . But the critics have some clever ideas, so we can turn to them when trying to decipher them.
Before we get to that, let’s break down Nope’s ending. The film is over two hours long and follows horse trainers (and their siblings) OJ and Emerald Hayworth, who discover that something big and mysterious lurks in the sky near their ranch. The film currently sits at a score of 76 on CNET’s sister site Metacritic. Park your horse here if you still haven’t seen Nope – there are spoilers ahead.
What plan are OJ, Emerald and the others hatching?
OJ and Emerald are determined to get proof (Oprah’s kick) of the alien creature in the sky, even after it nibbles Ricky “Skirt” Park and others at nearby Jupiter’s Claim theme park . (I don’t know them, but the sight of blood rain would have signaled the end of the road to me).
They team up with cinematographer Antlers Holst, who has a non-electric camera (the beast produces an “anti-electric field” that renders things like digital cameras useless). They also decorate the area with tons of inflatable tube men. When these fall, it’s a sign that the creature is nearby. They also know to avoid staring at the beast and that it doesn’t like to consume inanimate objects like decorative flags.
Once they’re ready to invite the beast back, OJ begins riding around. He carries a string of triangular flags attached to a parachute, and that comes in handy later on when a stranger shows up and taunts our petulant guy in the sky.
Why is the creature eating the guy from TMZ?
When the gang’s plan is underway, a stranger stops at the ranch on a bike. Emerald talks to the man – whose identity is obscured by a helmet – and realizes he’s from TMZ. News has already started to come out on the Jupiter’s Claim incident, and he is looking for answers.
The TMZ guy keeps heading in what turns out to be an unfortunate direction. The beast lurking above turns off his bike and sends it flying. He is alive but in poor condition, and OJ approaches him to help him. However, the guy’s helmet is reflective – just like the mirror that scares OJ’s horse at the start of the movie – and OJ realizes he has no choice but to get out of there.
The creature sucks in the TMZ rep and begins to chase OJ. It was then that OJ launched the invention of the parachute flag, which pushed the beast back a little and gave it time to take cover.
What does cinematographer Antlers Holst say to Angel?
Holst ultimately lands the money shot that OJ and Emerald are looking for. But then things take a turn. He mumbles something cryptic about them not deserving the impossible, and takes off with his camera.
However, it looks like the self-absorbed artist can’t resist snapping another shot. Holst points his camera at the creature, then it swallows him.
Does Angel (of Fry’s Electronics) live?
Yes, Angel survives the wrath of the beast. Her role in the final showdown is to help Holst. After Holst and his camera become alien food, Angel wraps himself in barbed wire fencing to avoid a similar fate. The beast tries to suck him in, but the ground fence stays up, and Angel comes back down to the ground. (Another possible reason it survived: The creature probably didn’t like the taste of wire.)
What’s the thing in the sky?
We get to know the creature in the sky as a white, disc-shaped animal that could reasonably be mistaken for an alien spaceship from a distance. In the final scenes of the film, the creature transforms into something more huge and undulating. To me, it almost looks like a flower – well, if that flower had a terrifying, throbbing green mouth.
How will Emerald defeat the creature?
Emerald arrives at the TMZ guy’s bike, but the creature (which has taken on its new form) is too close to her for it to work. In a moving scene, we realize that OJ is going to help him by fixing his eyes on the beast, pulling it towards him.
Emerald’s bike turns on and she rides to the theme park, Jupiter’s Claim. She brilliantly had the idea of hurting the beast by releasing a giant inflatable cowboy into the sky.
Earlier in the film, Emerald and OJ visited Jupiter’s Claim and Emerald photo-bombed strangers by sticking his head in a well containing a camera. In the final minutes of the film, she grabs coins strewn on the ground, loads the machine, and takes several photos of the sky. The well spits out what look like large polaroid pictures.
Eventually, the beast emerges and consumes the huge floating cowboy. Emerald takes a picture of it. Then the creature jumped up. It seems lifeless, like a torn plastic bag drifting through the air.
What happens to JO?
At the very end of Nope, we see a shadowy figure sitting on a horse just outside of Jupiter’s Claim. It’s unmistakably OJ, still wearing his bright orange hoodie.
What does the end mean?
To me, Nope’s ending seemed pretty straightforward. But I also thought there must be a deeper meaning to the final scenes – and the movie in general – that I hadn’t considered. Some reviews of the film helped me better understand what Peele may be trying to tell us. You can of course draw your own conclusions.
Film critic Alissa Wilkinson writes in Vox that the film “is central to how our experiences of reality have been almost entirely colonized by screens and cameras…to the point that we can barely conceive of experiencing the reality directly, with honesty and without any kind of manipulation.”
Dana Stevens, film critic for Slate, picks up something similar, but also notes that “sometimes the movie doesn’t seem to be out of its head and onto the screen yet.”
“Buried somewhere in Nope’s booming sound mix and thrilling visuals is a plaintive critique of the spectacle’s dominance in the lives of 21st-century Americans, our insatiable need to record and document, watch and play,” Stevens wrote. “But unlike the alien invader, which late in the film takes on its full, bizarre and beautifully imagined form, these ideas never fully emerge from the film’s rich matrix of imagery, references and themes.”
Charles Pulliam-Moore offers another perspective, writing for The Verge that “The specter of [racism, or some anthropomorphization of it] is present in the way Nope connects The Horse in Motion jockey to his fictional descendants: skilled professionals whose talents are vastly underestimated and overlooked by others in the industry. »
“None of the Haywoods feel quite like ‘real’ people, but rather heightened personifications of artists eager to be part of the movie business – no matter the cost,” Pulliam-Moore wrote. “As reckless as their plan to hold their ground while documenting their encounter with the creatures, it makes some emotional sense when you step back and look at Nope as a text about people who put in whatever they have to get the picture perfect.
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