Jordan Peels no It can be said that a lot of different things. All the primary characters are obsessed with fame, whether they have it and don’t want it, seek it as a means to an unrelated goal, or yearn for it for their own benefit. They are all haunted by a mystery with little thought of consequences – they are haunted by a UFO that clearly kidnaps animals and people, working to provide evidence of its existence to other people, but without thinking about the potential costs. As critics have pointed out, this serves as a useful metaphor for everything from irresponsible journalism to Click-hungry social media stars Trying to commodify every aspect of life. There are a number of themes turned on in noFrom the burden of the unknown to the road Obsession with the scene dominates modern culture.
But another theme running throughout the film is the different ways people deal with and process tragedy. All the main characters struggle with the tragedies that have come to define them. OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) deals with the slow financial ruin of his family’s farm and the death of his beloved father. His sister, Emerald (Kiki Palmer), navigates her estrangement from her father, and her failure to show him by forging a successful and independent career in Hollywood.
Angel (Brandon Perea) isn’t clearly defined, but he’s clearly hungry for some sort of meaning or direction, and he sees his dead-end job at a large rural electronics store as a failure that needs to be escaped. Cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) has all the fame he wants, but it has left him dissatisfied and bitter. in noLife has disappointed everyone, so much so that they see a threatening alien predator as an opportunity for change rather than the mortal threat it really is.
But the biggest tragedy in no, who sets the theme, is former child star Ricky “Joppy” Park (Stephen Yeon). Jupe has a lot in common with his fellow UFO hunters, from his frustrated ambitions to facing the game he puts on his disappointments. But he’s the only one who spends the movie lying to himself and others in really important ways. He is the only one who turns his personal tragedy into a catastrophic collective tragedy.
[Ed. note: Major spoilers ahead for Nope.]
Some viewers have been frustrated by the lack of clear links between Joby’s childhood trauma on the ’90s family sitcom set called Jordi’s house and events about UFOs. In Flashbacks, Peele explains how the show’s central character, a chimpanzee named Gordy, is startled by a series of balloons popping up on set and viciously attacking several of his fellow humans. Gopi was unhurt but froze in fear as the bloodied chimpanzees mutilated and threatened other people in front of him. To added shock, when Gordy calmed down and gently approached Gopi, making a friendly fist, a late-arrival rescuer shot Gordy to death, splashing Gopi with chimpanzee blood.
The way Jubei’s past affects his present may seem mysterious because of He never sets out his motives in a clear monologue. He’s so paralyzed with horror that he can’t speak in flashback scenes, and too cold and controlled in the present to reveal much to the outside world. But the events on the show clearly left an indelible mark on him. In moments of calm, he stares into space and replays that shock in his mind, while telling everyone he’s fine. The past plays gently, showing visitors Jordi’s house Souvenirs and complements Saturday night life A schematic diagram of chimpanzee attacks, but Peele gives the audience a glimpse of the echo chaos in his head, and shows how little it matches his quiet surface.
We know that Jupe has built a comfortable and positive life for himself as an adult: he seems to be a really good and tender partner and father, and his wife and three children are enthusiastic participants in the shows in his small western-flavored amusement park. But we also know he’s a skilled liar, able to smile in OJ’s face and casually agree that OJ could eventually buy back the well-trained horses Jupe was selling to keep his farm financially stable – even though Jupe was feeding those horses to a body mysterious. Jupe was a child actor, and he seems to have kept his pretending abilities alive.
He eventually uses these abilities to kill dozens in a horribly painful and frightening manner, including himself, his entire family, and his predecessor. Jordi’s house Crush and co-acting, and a few dozen strangers who have the bad luck to come to his amusement park. It is left to the audience to decide whether Joby’s childhood tragedy with Jordi has left him feeling untouchable as he passed them safely, ready to take out the bait to lure a giant, mysterious monster to eat the live animals in his backyard.
It is possible that the childhood trauma itself has left him deeply fascinated by the unpredictable, deadly animals and the power that they represent, and that the manner in which he flirts with the UFO is meant to parallel the clenching fists of Gordy – he reaches out to something capable of tremendous damage and makes a connection where Others dare not. It is possible that he sees himself as brave and bold, rather than charming. In fact, it is possible that both things are true.
The mystery of Jupe’s relationship with the UFO, and the ways in which she relates to the events around Gordy, goes back to this theme of dealing with tragedy and trauma. Trauma survivors can unearth their experiences in a thousand ways, from addressing them through therapy and discussion to passing them on to the next generation, but nonetheless, it is a largely internal process that everyone handles differently. in noMaintaining his inner trauma, OJ joins a dangerous mission to document the UFO without discussing how he feels about it. Emerald discusses her shock, trying to dump OJ’s guilt over his role in her. Angel Schauerns his way into the lives of others in an attempt to steal their glory; Antlers are single-handedly asking for a gratification they don’t want to share with anyone else.
But Jupe turns his relationship into a one-sided one with an alien creature he doesn’t care about and sees only as a source of food – and ultimately, as food. He is defined by a previous tragedy as walking straight into a greater tragedy – and killing dozens of people in the process. He obviously doesn’t know how to talk about his pain the way Emerald does – even in the middle of one flashback to the past, he tells his wife he’s fine and everything is going smoothly. He obviously doesn’t want to share it with other people, except in the form that he has reshaped and rigidly controlled something else entirely: a tamed little museum copy of his past, combing through all the confusion and awe and replacing it with elegantly small glass boxes.
But it is also clear that everyone in noIt bears the deadliest, the most brutal, the most surprising, and the least capable of undoing. OJ might eventually save the farm; Emerald can never reconnect with her father, but she can at least reconnect with the brother who closely mimics her, and with the farm that once connected them all. An angel can find his way out of his dead-end life; The Antlers seem to be taking control of exactly what they want. But Joby can’t bring back Jordi. The best he can do is control and reshape the narrative around Gordy – and connect with another dangerous creature to show how he can be controlled and cared for, despite the potential for violence.
And because he makes those choices, Jupe is the only one who noThe protagonists who cut all his choices, spread his shock to the people he loves, die realizing how all his choices went wrong. He’s not completely evil, and definitely not comparable to the actual killer in no. But it’s the movie’s biggest tragedy. He is a silent witness to a moment of terror that he chose to remain silent about – and in the process, it only gets worse. no It carries a lot of messages about the price of fame and the dangers of chasing after it. But one of her strongest messages is that denial and internalization of the trauma have no positive or beneficial outcome. It is very likely to erupt and expand, even from people who have the best intentions of keeping it under wraps.