The epic biographical thriller Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer. Alongside Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., and Emily Blunt. One of the most anticipated summertime films was the biographical film about the life of the Father of the Atomic Bomb and his involvement in the Manhattan Project.
Following its July premiere, the film garnered critical praise and went on to gross over $949 million worldwide, breaking several milestones along the way. These records included being the third-highest-grossing film of 2023, the second-highest-grossing R-rated film, and the biggest-grossing film about World War II. Christopher Nolan recalled the first reaction of the audiences as they watched the epic saga. Let’s find out.
Christopher Nolan describes the opening night for Oppenheimer as ‘remarkable’
During an interview with Variety, filmmaker Christopher Nolan shared that he, along with his wife Emma Thomas, who is also his producing partner, and their three children had decided to sneak into the AMC Lincoln Square Theatre in Manhattan, New York to see the reaction of the audience to his movie. He mentioned,
“It was a remarkable experience to be there. Every seat was filled, and the focus on what was happening on-screen was so strong. That level of engagement was something that I’d never really felt before. Real attention was being paid.”
The director had previously mentioned that if the audiences wanted to experience the movie in its real sense, they should watch it on IMAX 70mm film presentations. In his interview with The Associated Press, Nolan said,
“You rarely get the chance to really talk to moviegoers directly about why you love a particular format and why if they can find an IMAX screen to see the film on, that’s great. We put a lot of effort into shooting the film in a way that we can get it out on these large format screens.”
He added that it is just a great way of giving people an experience that they cannot possibly get at home.
Christopher Nolan addresses criticism over the omission of the atomic bomb explosion
In his cover story interview with Variety, Nolan addressed the criticism over his decision to omit the atomic bomb explosion at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said it was intentional. Nolan further explained
“The film presents Oppenheimer’s experience subjectively. It was always my intention to rigidly stick to that. Oppenheimer heard about the bombing at the same time that the rest of the world did. I wanted to show somebody who is starting to gain a clearer picture of the unintended consequences of his actions. It was as much about what I don’t show as what I show.”
The Father of the Atomic Bomb played by actor Cillian Murphy had indeed had concerns about nuclear proliferation and had advocated for the control of the production of radioactive material, but he never publicly criticized the bombing. Nolan said,
“My research and my engagement with this story tell me that anyone claiming a simple answer is in denial of a lot of the facts. Obviously, it would be much better for the world if it hadn’t happened. But so much of the attitude toward the bombing depends on the situation of the individual answering the question.”
He lastly added that the movie was an honest attempt to express his feelings about provoking discussion about it rather than providing a resolution.