Christopher Nolan is returning to theaters in 2023 with "Oppenheimer," a drama based on "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer," a biography about the Father of the Atomic Bomb written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Nolan's upcoming drama, which makes the fatal mistake of altering the biography's infinitely cooler title, stars a massive pool of talent which includes Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Gary Oldman, Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, and Rami Malek. Oh, there's also David Dastmalchian, Casey Affleck, Jack Quaid, Alden Ehrenreich, Dane DeHaan, Alex Wolff, Michael Angarano, and Josh Peck … because Nolan never does anything within what we would call "practical parameters."
Aside from the exhausting list of performer names, "Oppenheimer" caused a notable stir for its use of black-and-white footage in its announcement trailer. We don't get a lot of black-and-white movies these days, outside of alternate versions of films originally released in color and those made by directors who (allegedly, of course) organize aggressive social media campaigns championed by fake accounts to convince studio heads that they deserve to rerelease the movie with a cool Instagram filter and a funny aspect ratio. Anyway, for Nolan, the choice to feature black and white sequences in his film serves both a mechanical and a nostalgic function.
Nolan Appreciates Environmental Storytelling
In an interview with Total Film, Christopher Nolan discussed how he values the narrative boost provided by switching between color and black-and-white in "Oppenheimer:"
"I very much loved the structural assistance and the aesthetic charge of shifting between color and black and white that I had on 'Memento.' I'd always been looking for a reason to go back to that. And in the case of 'Oppenheimer' and the way in which we tell this story, it's very subjectively [told], but also with a more objective story strand that intertwines with that. It was really the perfect time to go back to that device that I loved so much."
For those who haven't seen it, "Memento" is one of Nolan's very first major productions ("Following" is technically his first). It's certainly his first successful movie and led to the career that Nolan is known for today. Without diving too deep (that's what this article is for), "Memento" features two chronologies and they are delineated by the visible color palette. The black-and-white sequences progress in typical order, with the natural, forward march of time. The color sequences, however, are shown in reverse chronological order, so that the very first sequence seen is the last one experienced by the characters.
Based on the quote provided by Total Film, it sounds like Nolan is promising us another movie with interwoven storylines that take place in separate chronologies. He did a similar thing in "Dunkirk" and, arguably, "Tenet," just without the color gradient. At this point, we should honestly be more surprised when we don't need to take notes to keep up with the plot of a Nolan film.
"Oppenheimer" opens in theaters on July 21, 2023.
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The post Christopher Nolan Is Going Back To His Memento Roots With Oppenheimer appeared first on /Film.