Over the past two decades, Christopher Nolan has established himself as one of the top directors in Hollywood. Tenet notwithstanding, Nolan has delivered hit after hit, to the point where his movies have become events unto themselves, even a decade plus after he wrapped up his Dark Knight trilogy.
Next week, Nolan returns to theaters with Oppenheimer, which is based on the true story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the father of the Atomic Bomb. But in a newly released preview from Universal Pictures, it’s clear that Oppenheimer goes beyond that point to explore the beginning of the nuclear arms race.
Despite Universal billing this as an “opening look” at Oppenheimer, it’s not actually the film’s opening minutes. Instead, it plays more like an extended trailer that is bookended by black-and-white scenes set in the 1950s, when Oppenheimer is appalled to learn that the Russians have apparently gained nuclear secrets. And for all of Oppenheimer’s denials, it’s clear that someone on his team was a party to this espionage.
It looks like the majority of the film will deal with Oppenheimer assembling a team of scientists and their families at Los Alamos. Oppenheimer wisely realized that his men wouldn’t be willing stay unless their loved ones were with them. But even that can’t stop a few from trying to leave the Manhattan Project before it has truly begun.
Nolan has once again assembled a powerhouse cast that includes Emily Blunt as Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer, Matt Damon as Leslie Groves, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence, Casey Affleck as Boris Pash, Rami Malek as David Hill, Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr, Benny Safdie as Edward Teller, Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer, Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe, David Krumholtz as Isidor Isaac Rabi, and Matthew Modine as Vannevar Bush.
Oppenheimer will hit theaters on Friday, July 21.