After the race! (2017), the world has been eagerly awaiting star director Jordan Peele’s next step. Natural. Thus, Nós has become a public and critical phenomenon since its opening in theaters in 2019. The film is now arriving on Amazon Prime Video streaming.
Using many of the same beats from Corra !, Peele delivers his extended “new episode of Beyond Imagination” into a feature film. Once again, the director tackles social issues between the lines of his terror – this time less poignant (but we still have allegories about class struggles – the luckiest and the least fortunate). And while the filmmaker doesn’t (so directly) point to racial issues, the protagonism of a black family in a mainstream production is one of the greatest merits of Peele’s status.
In the plot, the Wilson family travel on their long-awaited summer vacation. We have mother Adelaide (Lupita Nyong´o), father (Winston Duke), daughter (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and son (Evan Alex). Everything seemed perfect, even with the matriarch’s reluctance to go to a specific beach nearby – straight to the pranks of any family comedy. The characters of Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker and their twin daughters Cali and Noelle Sheldon are also on site. However, it was with the arrival of another family – almost perfect copies of the Wilson family – to the place that terror stepped on the accelerator without diminishing the tragic events.
Jordan Peele, like great thrillers, knows how to play with our imaginations very well. The opening scene – one of the best in the feature film – is proof of that. Apparently unrelated to the rest of the film (that’s what we thought at the beginning), the filmmaker introduces a cold and chilling prologue, in which a little girl gets lost with her parents in an amusement park on the edge of the sea in the 1980s. We were already worth the ticket. The incisive soundtrack leaves us glued to the screen, waiting for what is to come – it’s the harbinger of something bad. Peele doesn’t rush and purposefully creates a rhythmic measure that maximizes the tension implied in the moment.
The introduction is brilliant, however, the film loses its gas in its second and third acts – nothing that compromises the result of the whole. What happens is that in its second act, We would become a slasher horror movie (even hovering above what’s done in the subgenre), with characters trying to outlive their pursuers from every possible way. We have scenes in boats, in houses and in cars. It’s the standard of terror, but Peele does it with class.
In the third act, it is when explanations must come and then we notice small unfulfilled gaps in the director’s text. Not that everything has to be explained, on the contrary, it’s much better when you can answer for yourself. But Peele offers to tell it all, trust me, and ends up jumping a bit (even with twists and turns).
The film acquires new connotations in its result, and it certainly has enough filler for several theories and conclusions. Another point that should be emphasized are the actions of this cast beyond engagement. In terms of performances, Nós is not an easy film, because here we are dealing with the exaggeration, the fantastic and, why not, the ridiculous. The cast takes lyrics, especially Lupita Nyong´o, who embraces madness with taste and risks a lot like Adelaide, but especially as Red – her evil twin.
Peele’s staging is ample and sumptuous. The script, if not done to the millimeter, at least earns a lot of points for the risks it takes, and for building a product aimed at the masses totally off the beaten track. Let more filmmakers like Peele take risks and help revive Hollywood cinema.
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