The star of the upcoming Christopher Nolan epic about the creation of the atomic bomb mentions that the film’s runtime is Nolan’s longest.
It’s an interesting new trend for films to reach the three-hour or near three-hour length. Avatar: The Way of Water followed up its original, which had a similar runtime, with a longer runtime. Damien Chazelle’s Babylon was an epic period piece that clocks in at over three hours. Even an action movie like John Wick: Chapter 4 exceeds its predecessors with a three-hour clocked time. According to Variety, Christopher Nolan, who is no stranger to long-running films as follows up the nearly three-hour Tenet with Oppenheimer, which is a look into the inventor of the atomic bomb as revealed by one of the film’s stars, Matt Damon.
Damon walked the red carpet at the premiere of his upcoming film, Air, and spoke with Variety, “It’s three hours. It’s fantastic. Cillian is phenomenal. He’s everything you would want him to be. I think it’s almost three hours. It goes so fast. It’s great.” Nolan’s usual collaborator, Cillian Murphy gets his first starring role in one of his films as theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Manhattan Project and the “father of the atomic bomb.” The film sports an ensemble that also includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Alden Ehrenreich, David Krumholtz, Michael Angarano and Kenneth Branagh.
A historical drama about such events as the creation of the atom bomb is certainly a subject of a lot of information. Many dramas of yesteryear became very niche for long running times due to their extensive subject matter. In the 90s, Oliver Stone would churn out some very heavy-themed films like JFK and Nixon. Spike Lee felt it was imperative to tell the story of Malcolm X in three hours, and Scorsese would notoriously indulge with his films. The most recent example would be Netflix’s The Irishman.
Oppenheimer is Nolan’s first feature since leaving his longtime studio, Warner Bros., after conflicts with their distribution experiments caused Nolan to find a new home since he aims to make his movies a big cinematic experience and doesn’t advocate for early release onto home video formats of any kind.
Oppenheimer opens on July 21.