Oppenheimer trailer is here. The upcoming hotly-anticipated biopic from Christopher Nolan, led by Cillian Murphy, got a new trailer early Monday (India time), which explores the politics and drama surrounding the creation of the first atomic bomb. While World War II isn’t unfamiliar territory for Nolan — Dunkirk was set during the same period — this would be the first time he has put long-time collaborator Murphy as a lead in one of his movies. And unlike the Oppenheimer teaser trailer, which debuted in July and is still running as a live stream, this new Oppenheimer trailer is presented in colour. The film itself is poised to switch to monochrome film stocks periodically.
The Oppenheimer trailer opens with an explosion, with engulfing flames that turn into snow-like ashes, depicting the eerie aftermath of the detonation. “We imagine a future, and our imaginings horrify us,” theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy) narrates, as we’re offered landscape visuals of where the US government-controlled Manhattan Project took place, amidst World War II. “They won’t fear it until they understand it. And they won’t understand it until they’ve used it.” The Oppenheimer trailer is quite dreamlike, in what feels like vignettes of memory, in which the titular physicist appears to be a troubled man, whose flaws are ignored in favour of his brilliance.
“I don’t know if we can be trusted with such a weapon. But we have no choice,” he says horrified in the Oppenheimer trailer, contemplating the unprecedented, destructive power, he has created. There’s a brief shot of Josh Peck (Drake and Josh) as the American physicist Kenneth Bainbridge, who can be seen flicking some switches before the Trinity explosion is triggered. Jack Quaid (The Boys) as theoretical physicist Richard Feynman is also seen, tensely awaiting the test results with his peers. Throughout the Oppenheimer trailer, if you pay close attention, you might be able to hear the ticking of a Geiger counter, akin to the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, which is an instrument used for detecting ionising radiation. As the timer ticks down, we see a hand, presumably Oppenheimer’s, hovering over a big red button, though we never get to see the giant mushroom cloud.
Director Nolan, who is notorious for avoiding CGI in his films, confirmed last week that the nuclear weapon explosion in the upcoming Oppenheimer was recreated practically. “I think recreating the Trinity test [the first nuclear detonation in New Mexico] without the use of computer graphics was a huge challenge to take on,” he told Total Film. “Andrew Jackson — my visual effects supervisor, I got him on board early on — was looking at how we could do a lot of the visual elements of the film practically, from representing quantum dynamics and quantum physics to the Trinity test itself, to recreating, with my team, Los Alamos up on a mesa in New Mexico in extraordinary weather, a lot of which was needed for the film, in terms of the very harsh conditions out there — there were huge practical challenges.”
In addition to Murphy, Peck, and Quaid, Oppenheimer also stars Robert Downey Jr. as Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss, Matt Damon as the Manhattan Project director Leslie Groves Jr., Emily Blunt as wife Katherine Oppenheimer, Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock who harboured a relationship with Oppenheimer, Benny Safdie as Edward Teller, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, and Gary Oldman.
The film marks Nolan’s first collaboration with Universal Pictures, after serving a nearly two-decade-long stint with Warner Bros.. That switch happened because Nolan didn’t take kindly to Warner releasing all major 2021 films on its streaming platform HBO Max during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Nolan’s last film at Warner, Tenet, was not affected by that decision.)
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer will release exclusively in cinemas on July 21, 2023 in India and around the world.