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I don’t even want to see Oppenheimer, but I’ll still watch it in theaters

Published Jul 21st, 2023 2:12PM EDT
Director Christopher Nolan
Image: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

This is the weekend, it’s finally happening. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is out in theaters, the movie so many people are dying to see. I’m reluctantly in that category as well, but there’s not an ounce of excitement or any interest in seeing this particular story told in movie format. And I dread the idea of watching a three-hour-long historical drama focused on one of humanity’s biggest disasters. But I will go watch it in theaters rather than wait for the digital or streaming releases.

As the name implies, Oppenheimer is a biopic telling the story of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s involvement in developing the atomic bomb.

It’s not Nolan’s first historical drama based on World War II, as the director also made Dunkirk in 2017. That’s the story of the miraculous escape of almost the entire British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk during the early phase of the conflict. It’s also a movie I went to see in theaters. Twice.

I don’t think I’ll repeat that feat with Oppenheimer. I’d be more likely to watch Barbie in cinemas this weekend instead of Nolan’s latest movie.

I’m not saying that I expect Oppenheimer to be a bad film. Far from it. If anything, I’d expect it to become a hot contender at the Oscars next year. It’s just the nature of the story that doesn’t appeal to me.

The only reason why I’ll watch the film in a theater is Christopher Nolan. I’ve reached a point in my life where I know I’ll go see anything this amazing creator does in theaters as soon as it’s available.

The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, and Interstellar are my three reasons to want to watch anything made by Nolan. Even if it’s something unusual like Tenet, a film you need to watch 14 times to make sure you get the gist of it. Thankfully for my Nolan experience, I got to see that one at home for the first time, as the movie premiered at a time when I was still isolating. But I would have seen Tenet in a theater under normal conditions.

Oppenheimer is less appealing than Tenet and Dunkirk to me. And it certainly can’t match my excitement for The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, or Interstellar.

But I still want to see how Nolan chose to tell a real-life story depicting the development of the worst weapon humankind has ever invented. And I think the only way to truly show my support for this director’s work is by buying my ticket for a movie I could very well stream on Max or Netflix in a few months.

I will point out another reason for seeing Oppenheimer theaters: the amazing cast. Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke, and Alden Ehrenreich all star in this movie. Murphy is one of Nolan’s longtime partners, of course. But I can’t wait to see this tremendous cast at work under Nolan’s direction.

I’m also deeply aware that Oppenheimer might be Nolan’s best work to date. And I want to witness it on the big screen during its theatrical release, something I won’t be able to do later.

Suppose you’re excited about Oppenheimer but also want to get a different angle on the real-life events that inspired the movie. In that case, you’ll want to watch these Oppenheimer documentaries as well.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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