Film Release and Backstory to Oppenheimer
In Cinema July 20th
Written and directed by CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, Oppenheimer is an IMAX®-shot epic thriller that thrusts audiences into the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.
The film stars CILLIAN MURPHY as J. Robert Oppenheimer and Golden Globe winner EMILY BLUNT as his wife, biologist and botanist Kitty Oppenheimer. Oscar® winner MATT DAMON portrays Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project, and Oscar® nominee ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. plays Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission.
Nolan’s films, including Tenet, Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy, have earned more than $5 billion at the global box office and have been awarded 11 Oscars and 36 nominations, including two Best Picture nominations.
Oppenheimer is filmed in a combination of IMAX® 65mm and 65mm large-format film photography including, for the first time ever, sections in IMAX® black and white analogue photography. It is epic story and intense but as Nolan says “Oppenheimer’s story is one of the great stories that there is,” “It’s full of paradoxes and ethical dilemmas, and that’s the kind of material I’m always interested in. While the movie tries to help the audience understand why people have done the things they’ve done, it’s at the same time asking should they have done the things they’ve done. And film, as a narrative medium, is uniquely suited to pulling an audience into a subjective experience, letting them judge things the way the characters judge them, while at the same time looking at these characters a little more objectively. At various points, we try to burrow into Oppenheimer’s psyche and take the audience on his emotional journey. That was the challenge of the film: To tell the story of a person who was involved in what was ultimately an extraordinary destructive sequence of events, but done for the right reasons, and tell it from his point of view.”
The story of Oppenheimer’s post-Manhattan Project years offers outside perspective on his work and legacy while also examining the motives and personalities of key individuals who impacted his life. That narrative centers on Lewis Strauss, another key player in shaping America’s nuclear policy after World War II. In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower nominated Strauss to serve as Secretary of Commerce.
Nolan says he typically doesn’t think too much about directorial or producorial concerns while writing scripts for fear of inhibiting his creativity. But with Oppenheimer, he felt he needed to describe, on page, for the sake of his collaborators and studio, his visual strategies for presenting a complex story that toggled continuously between subjective and objective experience, as well as two different trials happening in two different times.
Nolan decided that the scenes told through Oppenheimer’s perspective would be in color (he also wrote them in the first person, an unconventional choice for a screenplay), with occasional cutaways to evocative, surreal imagery that symbolically expressed his interior world. The scenes that center on Strauss would be in black and white. “It’s a strange thing to do,” says Nolan of the unconventional choice to write in the first person. “But it made it clear to anyone who read the script that we, the audience, are on this ride with Oppenheimer. We’re looking over his shoulder, we’re in his head, we’re going everywhere with him.”
**** stars It is epic story