Oppenheimer follows the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is played by frequent Nolan collaborator and Peaky Blinders star Cillian Murphy, and it tells the story of how he and a group of scientists created the first nuclear bomb. In fact, Nolan, who prefers to work with practical effects and not computer-generated imagery, managed to recreate the first test of the bomb (called the Trinity test) without using CGI.
The film boasts a large and talented cast, with Emily Blunt as Katherine Oppenheimer, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Matt Damon as Leslie Groves, Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Benny Safdie as Edward Teller, Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence, Gary Oldman as Harry S. Truman as well as Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Quaid, Josh Peck, Jason Clarke, Matthew Modine, and Alden Ehrenreich.
Oppenheimer is based on a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin which was released in 2005, called American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer. Interestingly this is not the first Christopher Nolan film to be set during the World War II period as he also made Dunkirk in 2017, which told the story of the Dunkirk evacuation that took place in France in 1940.
Most of the trailer depicts the assembly of the nuclear bomb and Oppenheimer’s thousand-yard stare. It does not grant us a look at many characters in the film, with most of the trailer setting up the tone and weight of it instead. It’s unclear whether the fire effects and atomic imagery are just for the trailer or if they will actually be present in the movie, however as Nolan did use similar imagery in Interstellar you can’t rule it out.
This is the first Christopher Nolan film in over 20 years not to be released by Warner Bros., instead being released by Universal Pictures. Nolan famously worked on The Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films for the studio, as well as releasing Interstellar, Inception, Dunkirk, and most recently Tenet under their banner. The move might have been due to Nolan’s dismay at Warner Bros.‘s instance on releasing new films during the Covid-19 pandemic, day and date on HBO Max, which in hindsight may not have been the best move for the reshuffling company.
Oppenheimer will be blasting its way to theaters as well as IMAX, on July 21, 2023.