Jordan Peele Does It Best

Lili Olson, Scoop Writer

Jordan Peele is now known for his incredible films, his comedy and his countless awards for screenwriting, directing and producing. Interestingly enough, in 1997 he was a freshman at Sarah Lawrence, studying puppetry. So how did Peele become one of the most influential figures in the film industry today?

Peele credits his directorial success to his biggest fear, and he describes as such in an interview with the New York Times. When asked what scares him most, Peele responds “Human beings…Society is the scariest monster.” The director stuck with this theme for his first two directorial films, Get Out and Us.

Get Out was Peele’s debut as a director and addressed the fears of black people in America through beautifully nuanced storytelling and acting. Starring notable actors such as Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Lee Stanfield, the film achieved overwhelming success. Accolades included Best Original Screenplay and numerous nominations at the Academy Awards, the Directors Guild and a BAFTA nomination. The film brought Peele’s film genius to a broad audience, and the effect was staggering.

Many cinephiles feared that Peele’s second film, Us, could not contain the same haunting storyline and captivating characters, but the decorated director proved them wrong. Us was striking and unsettling and studded with political and social metaphors. Although Us was more conventional in terms of plot in horror movies, it proved to critics that Peele was no one hit wonder.

Nope, Peele’s most recent film, was a sci-fi thriller that went beyond the run-of-the-mill alien blockbuster. Nope features a complex yarn, woven together with beautiful cinematography and contrasting horrifying and heartwarming storylines. The film was not meant to satisfy the gore-seeking, horror fanatic, but to shock and stupefy the audience. The theme of a spectacle was introduced with a biblical quote at the start of the film, and the sequence of scenes was created to continually surprise movie goers. Ultimately, Nope did not have Peele’s hallmark social commentary, but its box office and critical success solidified the director’s ability to create a wildly impressive film, no matter the genre.

Jordan Peele has proven time and time again that he will always create a triumphant film. He masterfully incorporates scary or shocking elements into intensely personal stories. That is why Peele will continue to succeed. The interwoven narratives grounded in human emotion and fear, that both endear and overwhelm audiences. Peele talks about his desire to surprise, saying “I’m obsessed with giving the audience something they don’t see coming.” And he truly fulfills his obsession, forever leaving his audience wanting more.