In Jordan Peele’s Nope, the Darkness Stares Back | Functions

Jupe tells his audience about the alien presence he calls “The Viewers”, which in his mind look like the cameras he’s seen for most of his life. A flashback shows him hiding at “Gordy’s home” under a table. The shape of the film magazines on top of the abandoned cameras resembles the alien plushies and masks that today’s Jupe sells.

Back then, Gordy was looking straight at Jupe – and us, the camera acting as Jupe’s point of view. Its gaze inscrutable, its mouth bloody, the chimpanzee drew closer and raised its knuckles at Gordy. Did it sense a kindred spirit? Or would it have hurt him? Rescuers shoot it before Jupe can figure it out.

Jupe as a boy had no control. Through the theme park and the alien show, it looks like he’s in control now – but it’s false, just like the trainers at “Gordy’s home” thought before Gordy snapped. Before OJ’s horse saw its reflection and was startled.

Attention can be a beast. It can feel warm, flattering, euphoric. But it can change, just as the creature does: from the silvery flying saucer of so many movies to something pliable, expansive, with a gaping belly that looks like a black hole.

All this attention literally engulfs Jupe. As he and the worried crowd stare up at it, unable to look away, the alien creature opens its mouth like an orifice and devours Jupe and his entire audience. Peele shows them fighting inside this creature, fighting against folds of tissue, and we realize we’ve seen this before, over the opening credits: an undulating “tunnel” that billowed like curtains.

Back then we were in the belly of the beast. We just didn’t know.

This creature also likes to watch – to a point. It is attracted to whatever looks at it, making us the focus that fascinates. It feeds on our attention, but never on itself, inhaling all it can before discarding what it cannot use. I will cast vile filth upon thee, make thee loathsome, and make thee a spectacle, says the biblical quote (Nahum 3:6) Peele uses to open the film, and after visiting Jupiter’s Claim, the creature delivers a deluge, parks in the sky just above the Haywoods’ ranch house, and spews blood, metal. and other waste. It literally chews people up, absorbing only what it needs for sustenance and expelling the rest, indiscriminately in its harm.

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