Review 2 |  'No!  Do not look!'  hides a potent message behind the sci-fi horror mask

Jordan Peele became one of the most expressive voices in the contemporary entertainment scene, and in just her debut, she garnered acclaim and financial success – which earned her an Oscar statuette for Best Original Screenplay and countless other nominations. After ‘Run!’which is credited as one of the best productions of the century, Peele threw himself headlong into the underrated ‘We’psychological thriller starring Lupita Nyong’o (and which is the filmmaker’s favorite for this one who writes to you). Now, the director, screenwriter and producer returns to the big screen with the long-awaited ‘No! Do not look!’whose mystery behind the story and the unfolding of events did indeed raise our expectations considerably.

The simple plot follows OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), a farmer and horse breeder who, after the tragic death of his father, takes over the family business and is aided by his outgoing and chatty sister, Emerald (Keke Palmer), which has a gigantic ambition to enter the audiovisual industry. Deciding to stay in the small town of Agua Dulce to help the traumatized OJ, Em tries to do the best he can – but as time passes, the two discover that something strange lurks in the skies, a kind of flying saucer that camouflages in the clouds and attacks when it wants to. And when they become the target of the deadly hunger of a creature that threatens everyone below, they decide to act on their own to survive.

Knowing Peele’s style, nothing is what it seems – and the filmmaker’s third feature film would be no different. Dressed in a sci-fi outfit that brings back memories of the kitschy rebelliousness of ‘Mars Attacks!’ and the growing suspense of ‘Worlds War’, ‘No! Do not look!’ masks the true intentions under conventionalisms that, in a way, have been tiring us for some years. After all, we have the imminent and belligerent presence of an extraterrestrial being whose intentions are not benevolent; the dynamics of a family marked by grief and that needs to reconnect in order to overcome a gigantic problem; and supporting characters that serve as guides for the resolution of the narrative. Now, it’s no surprise that Kaluuya does a great job, but it’s Palmer who steals our attention and makes a glorious return to the big screen.

However, it is undeniable to say that the director does not seem to know which way to go – which does not mean that the film is bad. However, when we place the work alongside its predecessors, it is remarkable how the market scope seems to have hit Peele hard, given that the social criticisms and the use of terror as a reflection of the race theories of the late 20th century and early 20th century 21st century ceases to exist in favor of a thematic universalization – whose implications in the script are all too obvious. The narrative structure is divided into three main lines that converge in the fight against the alien threat (which is not a flying saucer, but a metamorphic creature that attacks when it wants to feed), and all are involved with what we call spectacularization – a term that talks about the consequences of fame.

Enjoy watching:

Emerald does everything he can to get the long-awaited break in Hollywood, utilizing the family business through a passion for film history and the artistic blood that runs through his veins; Antlers Host (Michael Wincott), a renowned filmmaker, helps the brothers in an attempt to capture images from the disc and create the film of their career; Jupe Park (Steven Yeun), a former television star, transforms a childhood trauma into a mixture of humor and irony to achieve success and recognition – each one facing, in its own way, the consecutive and ultimate price of excessive greed. OJ, in turn, serves as a counterpoint, content to raise the horses and maintain the normal life that is usurped by the presence of the extraterrestrial.

While the script stumbles more often than we would like, the rest of the gears fit perfectly: we have the strong direction of Peele, who bets on technical simplicity and the contemplative elaboration of a desert setting; the soundtrack of Michael Abels dialogues with others of the genre, whether for the terrifying sensation of observation, or for the poignant and dissonant use of string instruments, but always aiming for a bizarre originality that goes back to the adventure films of the 1990s; the conflicting photography balances the warm tones of yellow with the melancholy suspense of blue, which transforms the frames into terrifying little paintings – especially in a determined sequence in which Em and OJ’s mansion is sprayed with blood.

‘No! Do not run!’ it may not be the best entry into Peele’s young filmography, but it is, without a shadow of a doubt, still a fun adventure through the mind of one of the leading names in the film scene today. Sometimes, the sci-fi formulas overshadow the almost anthropological ambition that the filmmaker makes use of – however, the result is quite positive and leaves room for infinite and wild interpretations.

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