Fans of Jordan Peele’s new film Nope have shared theories over the significance of one of its biggest mysteries.
The horror-comedy, which focuses on a UFO sighting near a ranch in the Californian desert, has been praised for its rich use of imagery and symbolism.
However, some viewers have been left scratching their heads by some of the film’s visual metaphors, with one particularly ambiguous image centring on a shoe, balanced bizarrely upright.
In her five-star review of Nope for The Independent, Clarisse Loughrey wrote: “There’s always been an unshowy confidence in how Peele’s films move, from the bourbon-y smoothness of his camerawork, to the symbolic potency of ordinary objects.
“Get Out has its porcelain teacup. Us has scissors. Nope has a tennis shoe inexplicably balanced on its heel, and wacky waving inflatable men with rictus grins plastered on their faces.”
Spoilers follow for Nope – you have been warned!
The shoe appears in the flashback scene depicting the carnage on the set of Gordy’s Home. Ricky “Jupe” Park (Steven Yeun) notices the shoe while the rampaging animal is seen attacking his castmates.
Later, the shoe is seen being displayed in Jupe’s hidden tribute room, still in the upright position.
Fans have shared theories online as to the potential significance of the shoe as a symbol.
Some have suggested that the improbably balanced item was in fact an example of the kind of “bad miracle” OJ (Daniel Kaluuya) asks about later in the film.
Others have suggested that the shoe was interpreted as a good luck charm by Jupe, prompting him to hold onto it as a sort of “lucky rabbit’s foot” alternative.
“The shoe is another ‘bad miracle’, as in a random, unlikely event that Yukes hyper focused on in a moment of trauma,” suggested Reddit user u/Quack12podcast.
“He took the wrong lesson from it, believing he was a special being, and profited off of the tragedy. The other shoe drops when he tries to exploite another wild creature.”
“The whole movie is about this obsession people have with watching things maybe they shouldn’t be,” Reddit user u/jikcay posited.
“Gordy, Lucky, the ship, and even the director and his ‘impossible shots’. I think the shoe is meant to be one of those things that draws that obsession.”
Nope is out in cinemas now.