No: Why did the Horns really want to take an impossible picture

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Warning: SPOILERS for Nope to follow.

Towards the end of Jordan Peele’s film “No”, experienced cinematographer Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) makes the shocking decision to go for an “impossible shot” and soon dies. Even more surprising is that Canvas successfully shoots the alien creature from the movie moments before he picks up his rig and chases it. Canvas mentions the golden hour and perfect lighting right before following the creature, but since he must have known he wouldn’t survive, there must be other aspects to his decision.

Although Canvas is an integral player in Nope, the story revolves around OJ and Emerald Haywood as they try to gather evidence of the existence of a creature that is “not from planet Earth.” Together with Canvas and tech store employee Angel Torres, the Heywoods embark on a plan to take the perfect picture. Although Holst arrived late to the group, he had a great influence on the success of the plan.

Horn Holst is approached for help in the Heywood efforts when it becomes clear that their skills are not enough to get the desired shots. Canvas initially dissuades them from their goal, although he is eventually too tempted by the potential of their plan. Canvas’s decision will lead first to the success of the plan, and then to his death. The spontaneous decision of the Horn at the end of “No” may have several meanings, but the most likely of them is related to the theme of the film concerning the spectacle. As a first-class cinematographer who, by the time he was introduced in the film, had essentially been transferred to shooting commercials, Horns represents the potential consequences of a life spent chasing the spectacle. Initially rejecting the Heywood’s request for help, Holst says, “This dream you’re chasing… is the one you never wake up from,” which is delivered with thoughtful seriousness. It is persistently assumed that Antlers has spent so much of his life chasing what he calls the “impossible shot” that by the time Knope’s alien creature presents an opportunity to catch him, he goes all in, even fully realizing that it will be the last thing he ever does. It is especially poetic that the frames of the Canvas are unlikely to have survived, suggesting that he did what he did for his own sense of peace.

What does the Horn’s desire really mean to make an impossible shot at no

Another potential factor in Holst’s decision suggests the fact that he is shown coughing and taking medication throughout the film. Although it is never explicitly stated that Holst is ill, there is a high probability that he knew that his time on Earth is limited. Although Horn Holst’s illness may remain one of the unanswered questions, it would be wise if he decided to leave on his own terms, especially knowing that in the process he would realize his lifelong dream.

There’s also an aspect of Canvas’s character that goes back to the ill-fated experts from other classic films. The most direct comparison of the Canvas may be the Quint from Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, a hunter of gray sharks who is eventually killed by the exceptional shark he hunts. Indeed, Wincott’s cynical portrayal of the Canvas evokes comparisons with Robert Shaw’s “Quint” as well as Bob Peck’s “Muldoon” from Jurassic Park, which was also directed by Spielberg. Since Jordan Peele’s newest box office hit repeatedly resembles Spielberg, it’s not surprising if Horn Holst’s decisions in “No” were, at least in part, a hint of influence.

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