Christopher Nolan Reveals Why Oppenheimer Isn’t Just A Film, It’s An Experience

Run, don't walk, to the biggest screen possible to see Christopher Nolan's latest cinematic triumph.

Christopher Nolan Reveals Why Oppenheimer Isn’t Just A Film, It’s An Experience

Image: Universal Pictures

Oppenheimer follows the titular character of J. Robert Oppenheimer, an American theoretical physicist whose devastating work would lead to the creation of the atomic bomb and the birth of nuclear warfare.

Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s twelfth feature film, was revealed in Paris this week and met with ubiquitous critical acclaim, with many calling the latest Nolan epic his best work to date. Such is Nolan’s nuanced directorial skill that he’s able to take one of the most audaciously bleak and catastrophic narratives in human history and weave something that’s so densely rich, evocative and gripping that audiences are simply unable to look away.

“The movie grabs you by the throat, like, from the beginning, and you just don’t take a breath.” remarked Cillian Murphy in the lead role.

This will be the sixth Christopher Nolan film that Cillian Murphy has featured in with previous works including the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk. Murphy will take on the titular role of Oppenheimer; a complicated character fixed in time, whose unprecedented actions set in motion the unhinged and unpredictable nuclear age that we inhabit today.

Oppenheimer will be the sixth Nolan film to feature Cillian Murphy. Image: Universal Pictures

Oppenheimer’s work was a calculated chaos, a reckless expression of what could be done, pushed to a climactic end, and Nolan wanted to fully portray the characters who were left with the real possibility “that when they pushed that button, they would set fire to the atmosphere of the earth and destroy the entire planet.”

To take on this role, Murphy had to fully immerse himself in this volatile time in history; becoming a theoretical physicist thrust into politics and war, whose greatest achievement would claim the lives of hundreds of thousands in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He revealed: “It’s really digging at what it means to be humans and our responsibility as humans on this planet and what we do with the power that we can harness, and in this case, this extraordinary and destructive and appalling weapon. It’s amazing.”

“This is not a film, this is an experience.”

Emily Blunt

Nolan is one of the last true romantics in cinema, and Oppenheimer is his latest “heart-in-your-mouth thriller” which shows why he’s one of the greatest directors of all time. His commitment to shooting on film puts the audience and their immersive experience at the heart of everything he does. Nolan wants to challenge the viewer to follow him along on this grand adventure and into this intricate era of what he calls the “most extraordinary moment in human history.” For Nolan, harnessing the unfathomable power of this monumental event would be his magnum opus.

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Image: Universal Pictures

To produce something that would have such a profound impact, Nolan was determined to assemble some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters to support Cillian Murphy’s groundbreaking portrayal; actors such as Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Kenneth Branagh were carefully selected to round off what Murphy called “one of the greatest modern ensembles” in cinema history.

The entire movie was shot in real-world locations, from Oppenheimer’s actual home in Los Alamos to the lecture theatres and grounds of Princeton University, where remnants of these events and conversations would’ve plausibly taken place. It gives an unparalleled sense of realism that is extremely difficult to fabricate on with film. The Oppenheimer team also built entire towns in the middle of the desert to deliver a truly transportive experience for the audience, picking them up and placing them right in the heart of 1940s America.

Fans in Melbourne will be pleased to hear that IMAX Melbourne is the only cinema in the Southern Hemisphere to receive the IMAX 1570 Oppenheimer film, the way that director Christopher Nolan intended the movie to be seen. For the rest of us, run, don’t walk, to the biggest screen possible to see Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic triumph.