Oppenheimer | Picturehouse Recommends

Enjoy the cinematic event of the year at Picturehouse.

James Mottram

18 Jul 23

Christopher Nolan

Release Date
21 Jul


Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh


Running Time
180 mins

Fan of Christopher Nolan should be well prepared for Oppenheimer, The 12th film of his stellar career. His last movie, the apocalyptic, time-bending thriller, Tenet, featured a blatant reference to J. Robert Oppenheimer, the so-called "father of the atomic bomb", and the Manhattan Project – the World War II-era mission to develop nuclear weapons. Whether or not Nolan was steering audiences towards his next film, he takes on his first real historical biography. 

Scripted by Nolan, this hugely ambitious epic about the famed American theoretical physicist comes adapted from the bestselling account American Prometheus: The Triumph And Tragedy Of J. Robert Oppenheimer, written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.

Taking the lead as Oppenheimer is Nolan regular Cillian Murphy, who first worked with him on 2005's Batman Begins as the villainous Scarecrow. Playing the real-life scientist is Murphy's most substantial role to date for Nolan – and arguably of his career. 

Beside Murphy is easily the most incredible cast of the year – or any year. Emily Blunt is Oppenheimer's wife, Kitty, a biologist and botanist; Matt Damon is General Leslie Groves Jr., director of the Manhattan Project, and Robert Downey Jr. is the hostile Lewis Strauss, a founding commissioner of the US Atomic Energy Commission.

Florence Pugh plays psychiatrist and physician Jean Tatlock, who became romantically involved with Oppenheimer. Josh Hartnett is pioneering American nuclear scientist Ernest Lawrence. 

Yet this is just the surface of a roll-call of actors that includes Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Alden Ehrenreich (Solo: A Star Wars Story), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea).

The legendary Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight trilogy) plays President Harry S. Truman, while two other Nolan regulars, Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Tenet) and Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises), also take roles in what Nolan has already called a "story of immense scope and scale". 

Once again Nolan teams with cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, who has shot every Nolan movie since 2014's Interstellar, to bring to screens a film of enormous spectacle.

Shooting in the New Mexico locations where events took place, Nolan is using his favoured IMAX large-format film to capture scenes, making Oppenheimer an experience of jaw-dropping proportions. 

Far-reaching in a way few films dare to be, Oppenheimer's compelling qualities also come from its being about one of the key moments in 20th century history.

As Oppenheimer oversees the Manhattan Project's Los Alamos laboratory, some of the brightest minds of their day gather to develop and test the atomic bomb – the weapon ultimately used to devastate the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

While the film broaches the unparalleled power of human ingenuity, as any student of Oppenheimer will know, he was left conflicted by his creation (he famously said, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds"). Facing a Pandora's Box-like dilemma, he has the fate of the world in his hands. 

Helping Nolan bring Oppenheimer's absorbing drama to life are some of the best in the business, including Jennifer Lame, who did a fine job of editing the bamboozling Tenet, and the brilliant composer Ludwig Göransson, who many will know from his work on The Mandalorian.

With untouchable production values and the A-list cast to end them all, Oppenheimer cannot be missed. Enjoy the cinematic event of the year at Picturehouse.     James Mottram

In The Know


Aside from Inception, this is Nolan's first film without Nathan Crowley, his production designer since 2002's Insomnia. Ruth De Jong (Nope, Us) has taken on the task. 


The film recreated the Trinity test, the first nuclear weapon detonation, using practical effects, not CGI.


Shifting between black and white and colour, it's Nolan's first time doing that since 2000's Memento.

Pick up a copy of Picturehouse Recommends at a Picturehouse Cinema near you, or become a Member.

Oppenheimer is in cinemas from 21 Jul Book Now!