December is a joyous time for cinephiles. With awards season in full swing, studios are rolling out long-awaited prestige projects and stuffing audiences’ stockings with previews of next year’s shiniest offerings. Lo and behold, we’ve finally been gifted a full trailer for “Oppenheimer,” the highly-anticipated opus from acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan.
The film revolves around Cillian Murphy as the titular physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who spearheaded the Manhattan Project leading to the creation of the atomic bomb in the 1940s. A tantalizing teaser from July contained no plot details but plenty of ominous, artful imagery of fiery explosions. Now, it’s clear the film also features a star-studded cast, with Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey, Jr. in key supporting roles. Other players include Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Matthew Modine, Kenneth Branagh, Casey Affleck, and Gary Oldman in a presidential cameo as Harry Truman.
The screenplay, which was penned by Nolan, is based on “American Prometheus,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning 2005 biography of Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherman. An exhaustively researched account of Oppenheimer’s life, career, ideas, and personal relationships, the book doesn’t exactly resemble the kind of material Nolan is known for. Still, there are certain parallels between the weighty implications of Oppenheimer’s work and Nolan’s gloomy histrionics.
Two years ago, “Tenet,” Nolan’s would-be action blockbuster of the year became a lightning rod of debate about the future of theatergoing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, the box office success of films like “Top Gun: Maverick” is proving audiences are willing to return to the cinema for the right movie. While it’s hard to imagine Nolan’s more esoteric film drawing similar numbers, “Oppenheimer” may well put the director back atop the ranks of Hollywood’s most bankable name brands.
“Oppenheimer” is scheduled to drop in theaters on July 21, 2023. Check out the trailer below: