Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated new biopic feature “Oppenheimer,” about the man considered the father of the atomic bomb, hits in July. As seen in the trailers so far, a good portion of the film was shot in black and white.
Not just any ol’ black and white either. Made with a combination of IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film photography, the $100 million film marks the first-ever feature to shoot sections in IMAX black and white analogue photography.
Obviously it’s essential to the story, but how is the question? Speculation has been that the film will be in color for all the scenes set before the first atomic bomb explosion, with scenes afterwards in monochrome serving as a metaphor for a world now in the atomic age.
Speaking with Total Film via Games Radar recently about the color palette shift, Nolan advises it represents a change of perspective – shifting narratively from color scenes written from a subjective first-person perspective, to black and white scenes shot with cold objectivity:
“I wrote the script in the first person, which I’d never done before. I don’t know if anyone has ever done that or if that’s a thing people do or not… The film is objective and subjective. The colour scenes are subjective; the black-and-white scenes are objective. I wrote the colour scenes in the first person. So for an actor reading that, in some ways, I think it’d be quite daunting.”
The comments suggest the theories about the color shift may well be true, and certainly it seems the film will incorporate more events that take place after the test detonation than originally expected.
Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Jack Quaid, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek, Gary Oldman, Kenneth Branagh, Alden Ehrenreich, Dane DeHaan, and David Dastmalchian, among others star in the film which will open in cinemas on July 21st.