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Christopher Nolan played a preview of Oppenheimer at CinemaCon

Nolan’s explosive new movie is a mystery about who leaked the bomb

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That’s not Oppenheimer, it’s just a medal, okay?
That’s not Oppenheimer, it’s just a medal, okay?
Photo: Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool (Getty Images)

Where else would Christopher Nolan be this week but CinemaCon? No director cares about the cinematic experience more than he does. His next film, Oppenheimer, like the ones before, will be available in all formats, from IMAX 70mm to 35mm DCP, which is the perfect way to see every molecule of the nuclear explosions that wrecked the world.

The movie is about J. Robert Oppenheimer, someone Nolan calls “the most important person who ever lived.” That menacing description of the man responsible for opening the door to the nuclear holocaust opened yet another door, perhaps a screen door, for an early trailer of Oppenheimer. This thing has to keep up with Barbie, right?


Nolan said he couldn’t confirm whether the trailer would premiere with Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, but he did share an early version for the attendees at CinemaCon. And thank god, he did, because how else would we be able to tell you, dear reader, about how frenzied Cillian Murphy looks in this movie?

Shot in color and black and white (but “not too much black and white, don’t worry,” Nolan assured nervous theater owners), Oppenheimer jumps between time periods. The trailer opens with an unrecognizable Robert Downey Jr. entering a hotel conference room, where he drops a bomb of his own: The Russians have developed a weapon very similar to the one designed by Oppenheimer. How did they get the bomb? Was there a spy in Los Alamos, where Oppenheimer built the bomb that won the war?


The trailer flashes back to color, where Cillian Murphy assembles a team to possibly blow up the world. Stressing the importance of beating the Nazis to this, Murphy simmers with fear and determination as he and General Matt Damon discuss the dangers of building a bomb like this. Oppenheimer constructs an oppressive system where he leads scientists and their families to Los Alamos, where they won’t be allowed to leave. The trailer then goes into montage mode, relishing in beautiful shots of orange flames slowly burning, and Einstein having his hat blown off. We also got our first look at Benny Safdie and David Krumholtz in the movie, which is always a pleasure.

All in all, Oppenheimer’s trailer leans on the MacGuffin of who leaked the bomb to dive into the man’s life, going back to his time in university. With any luck, the trailer will be available with Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 next week, so, like Einstein, our collective hats can be blown off our heads.

Either way, Oppenheimer opens on July 21.