No: the real horror is in the eye of the beholder. Review of Jordan Peele’s new nightmare

Nope Jordan Peele

DO Y em (Daniel Kaluya Y Keke Palmer) Am two brothers living in a rural California gorgewhere they manage together with their father, Otis Haywood Sr. (Keith David), a family farm, and are heirs to an ancient dynasty that trains horses for the movies. When the father dies, being hit by a nickel inexplicably falling from the sky, OJ and Em inherit the estate. While the former tries to maintain his father’s business to preserve his parents’ legacy, the latter hopes to find fame and stardom in Hollywood.

Soon, due to a series of unforeseen events and the inevitable change in the technological scenarios of cinema, the Haywood brothers find themselves involved in financial problems and, as if that were not enough, the horses seem to vanish into thin air, while those that are still present are nervous and have violent reactions. So, OJ is forced to sell some horses to jupe park (steven yun): a former television prodigy who opened an amusement park in his parts, making money with chilling lucidity about a personal tragedy that marked his childhood and even museumizing the dark side of entertainment and in particular of the sitcom in which he had participated Gordon’s housein the form of a macabre joke and a sketch to make your hair stand on end (Peele, emblematically, has linked his beginnings precisely to the comic job).

Nope offers us from the first minutes a story of terror and horror in which our gaze immediately coincides with the eyes and the point of view of the characters, dealing with what seems to be nothing more than a UFO placed there so that they protrude from their heads. As in his two previous films, Run – Get out Y Us, jordan peele play with an idea high concept to be offered to viewers in the key of both maximalist and metaphorical paradoxin order to force the limits and known shortcuts of the genre and take it towards new and crude theoretical territoriesin which never, as in this case, the sword of Damocles of the great tension device passes over everyone’s heads and also swings menacingly from one end to the other of what is, of course, first of all a landscape diplomaticilluminated by dim and distant flames, often few and all to be deciphered.

Oneself Salt reflected on the not entirely unearthed issue of race in post-Obama America in the most blatant way possible and Us chose the division of a family of blacks (also Americans) as the greatest symbol of violence and repression of the past of the States, in Nope reflection extends to the most perverse and distorted dynamics of show business stars and stripeswith an even greater degree of ambition and abstraction of the mise-en-scène, if possible, and an even stronger dimension of old-fashioned horror, which Peele inevitably rejects in the Carpenters’ and Rosemary’s Agone – mutatis mutandis – with renewed bravado (to those who recently hailed him as the greatest horror director of all time, Peele himself responded nonetheless: “I love your enthusiasm, but I cannot tolerate another smear against John Carpenter”).

If it’s about a film about the very act of seeing – and in particular about the dangers and pitfalls inherent in the overexposure of our observing subjectivities and about the perhaps excessive weight that today’s society attributes to the individual and omnipresent filter of experiences – Nope He reiterates it several times, since opening quote of prophet nahum (I will cast abominable filth on you, I will humiliate you and expose you to ridicule). After all, Em convinces OJ to install cameras on the ranch in hopes of understanding what’s going on and saying shoot a video that can make them rich, maybe selling it to Oprah Winfreyto collide with an immobility of sensitive data and of what we see that says a lot about the chains to which laziness and the automatism of our perceptions (especially visual) often force us.

the protagonists of Nopethat clearly in addition to intercepting the Science fiction is also a westernAm asian and african american cowboysthe latter even descendants of Galloping African-American horseman of Eadweard Muybridge in 1878 in the series of photographs The moving horseconsidered an absolute prototype of cinematography and capable of making its author a kind of “grandfather of cinema“. Eastinside joke of the history of cinema Lasted is not just a trinket and a common cinephile habit but it betrays very well the will of Peele di go back to the origins of the scopic impulses and obsessions of the cinematographic medium and its practices to build an audiovisual show in which knowing how to move the camera and play with the images in an ancestral key is worth more than any cheap confusion, the small details count as great shocks and denial -of oneself, and therefore also of one’s gaze- paradoxically it may be the highest form of identity assertion and the only possible flaw in the system.

Photo: Universal Pictures, Monkeypaw Productions

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