The cinematic commentary hidden behind the moving horse

The following contains spoilers for Nope, which is now playing in theaters.

In Nope, Writer-director Jordan Peele dives deep into motion picture making, identifying the two leads, OJ and Em Haywood, as descendants of the Horseman in the story’s first film. “The Moving Horse”, captured by photographer Eadweard Muybridge, played a crucial role in No. The film’s story is not only the backstory but also the spirit of the film, motivating the siblings and others to do their own “Oprah shots” while making social commentary.


“The Horse in Motion” marked the birth of cinema when photographer Eadweard Muybridge captured a sequence of images of a man on horseback on June 19, 1878. The jockey in the photos was known as G. Domm and the horse, Sallie Gardner, was owned by Leland Stanford. Sure, Peele took the liberty of linking truth to fiction, portraying the Horseman as OJ and Em’s great-great-great-grandfather, but that wasn’t the only thing the director had. changed.

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The three-second film projected in Nope is not the original “Horse in Motion” but one of Muybridge’s later works, a photo sequence he filmed in 1887, designated as “Plate Number 626. Gallop, thoroughbred bay mare , Annie G.” In Thom Andersen’s documentary, Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographerthe narrative note gave some details about Muybridge’s work and how he usually named the horses, mules, and dogs he filmed (in this case, Annie G.), but not the actors, riders, and stuntmen.


The first movie documented the truth, but the rest of the world only saw the spectacle. In this case, a full gallop in motion. There is more information about the horse, Sallie Gardner, than about the mysterious G. Domm.

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In Muybridge’s later work, he documented only the most “important” aspects of his photos: the animals he used. It is even more interesting that after murdering his wife’s lover, Muybridge focused on capturing animals as his main subjects. Likewise, in Nopeeveryone’s goal is to capture Jean Jacket on film, but photographic truth again presents the world only spectacle and nothing more.


With visual aids, photographs and films can be as compelling as possible, blending truth and fiction. Much like the way Jordan Peele orchestrated the “Horse in Motion” story in Nope, however compelling, there is always an aspect of reality that seems to escape everyone’s eyes because humans are naturally drawn to conclusions and see “the point”. As a result, the public might overlook some of the most crucial elements.

No is now in theaters.