After three years, acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Nolan has returned with another epic movie, and it looks like the director of the Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar, Dunkirk, and Inception, is at his most ambitious. His new movie, Oppenheimer, takes audiences back to when J. Robert Oppenheimer oversaw the creation of the atomic bomb during World War II. The first trailer has arrived, and Nolan delivers a biological thriller full of ominous imagery and a story about science and morality.
Oppenheimer seems to be a departure from the Nolan norm. The British director has never done a biopic before, and he’s not typically interested in stories outside his own experiences (though he attempted to do a Howard Hughes movie two decades ago with Jim Carrey). But this particular story is right in his wheelhouse, as it tackles seminal historical events and explores the ethical challenges of scientific progress.
The film’s starring roster also features a lot of talent, including Emily Blunt — who won an Oscar for Manchester by the Sea — as Oppenheimer’s wife Kitty; Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, a rival for the Manhattan Project’s top spot; Florence Pugh, who stunned this year’s Venice Film Festival with her performance in The Devil Wears Prada and last year’s Peaky Blinders, as Jean Tatlock; and Academy Award-winner Matt Damon as Manhattan Project director Leslie Groves. Rami Malek, Dane DeHaan, Kenneth Branagh, Benny Safdie, and Alden Ehrenreich round out the rest of the ensemble.
While the initial trailer is heavy on bad visuals, it’s also packed with exciting details about the scientific process behind creating the first nuclear weapon. The trailer opens with a short montage showing atoms colliding in the air, which leads into a sequence that shows scientists in the midst of building an atomic bomb in a deserted laboratory. This is followed by a sequence that shows the first atomic explosion, with a countdown timer marking its moment of impact.
The trailer’s final shot zooms out to show the massive mushroom cloud created by the Trinity test — the first atomic bomb ever detonated on Earth — with a voice-over describing how “the light from heaven’s end was visible for miles.” That’s certainly a fitting image for Nolan’s film, which promises to be a visually stunning — and controversial — look at history’s most dangerous creation. The film will be released in theaters next summer.