Christopher Nolan Goes Black and White for the First Time in 24 Years in the ‘Oppenheimer’ Teaser

The first trailer for Christopher Nolan’s next opus, Oppenheimer, is finally here, giving viewers their first look at Cillian Murphy as the iconic physicist who was instrumental in creating the atomic bomb.

In 2017 Dunkirk, Nolan combines three different timelines into a dizzying tale of survival and heroism in the Battle of France, and this look Oppenheimer similarly revolves around the countdown to an infamous moment in history. The time until the bomb went off is listed onscreen in one of the opening frames, and is revisited in the poignant final shot of Oppenheimer’s press-hungry, captioned, “World forever changed.” (Perhaps this watch is reporting the Trinity test in July 1945, not when the bombs were dropped on Japan, a month later.)


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Oppenheimer played a key role in leading the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb during World War II, and oversaw the successful testing of the weapon in 1945. Later in his life and career, Oppenheimer famously opposed the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Although we don’t see them in the trailer, Nolan’s film boasts a formidable team of talent supporting Murphy, including: Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife and fellow scientist Kitty; Matt Damon as Leslie Groves, the military leader in charge of the Manhattan Project; and Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, and Robert Downey, Jr. in other roles.

Based on the trailer, the film is likely to be largely black and white, which would mark a return to a minimalist style that Nolan hasn’t used since his first independent film, 1998. Next. However, the interspersed shots of explosions and embers in the trailer are rendered in vivid color, which (if taken from the film) could be Nolan’s way of conjuring up the fiery world-changing power, unprecedented, unprecedented of the atomic bomb.

The trailer doesn’t feature any dialogue. Single words are voiced indeterminate, confusing. “How can this man who sees so much go blind?” asked a male voice. On the film’s title, another voice refers to Oppenheimer as “the man who moved the earth.”

The main source of raw materials for Oppenheimer is Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography that took the authors a quarter of a century to write. The book delves into the scientist’s personal life, his controversial connections to Communist groups and politics, and his anxiety about his own legacy. Oppenheimer will expire one year from now, on July 21, 2023. Christopher Nolan Goes Black and White for the First Time in 24 Years in the ‘Oppenheimer’ Teaser

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