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Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer Is Taking A Radical Approach With Its Trailer

The 12th feature film from postmodern director Christopher Nolan is just under a year away. "Oppenheimer" stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist known for his work on the Manhattan Project and the atomic bomb's creation. Some of Nolan's usual suspects are rounding out the cast, including Kenneth Branagh and Gary Oldman, but the film will also feature Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., and Jack Quaid, to name a few.

Production on the film began earlier this year, with Nolan leaving his long-standing relationship with Warner Brothers for Universal Pictures. "Oppenheimer" has a release date of July 21, 2023, meaning there's still quite a bit of work to go. Filming wrapped in May according to the movie's costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, and while post-production is far from being over, we've finally gotten our first look at footage from the film. This is not technically an official teaser or trailer for the project, but what's being called an "announcement." In true Nolan fashion, this announcement is quite different from what you'd typically see from a film's first look.

The trailer for Oppenheimer isn't a trailer in its usual sense

Universal Pictures shared the official announcement for "Oppenheimer" on its YouTube page Thursday morning — but it's not your traditional first look. The announcement is live and constantly plays, with the viewer unable to watch from a specific point. It repeats the same footage over and over, and there is no end in sight. Additionally, the feed constantly updates the number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds (down to the thousandths of the second) until "Oppenheimer" premieres. 

We get our first footage of Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, who obsessively straightens his hat at one point, and in a different scene, walks toward the camera among a crowd of flashing cameras in slow motion — "Peaky Blinders" fans will notice a similarity here. There is a clear start and stopping point despite the video being live and on repeat, and it begins with a voiceover from Kitty Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt) describing how the world is changing. Shortly after, several other characters' voiceovers describe how important Oppenheimer is, with one calling him "the most powerful man that's ever lived." There are brief cuts to solar flares and firebombs, mixed with the most ominous music you can think of (typical Christopher Nolan), which will likely play at a decibel so high in the theater you won't be able to think. We don't get a peep from Oppenheimer himself, but Murphy looks to be completely immersed in the character.