Christopher Nolan said that early screenings of “Oppenheimer” left viewers “devastated,” and some even called it a horror movie.
A biographical drama starring Killian Murphy as the titular J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as “the father of the atomic bomb,” will be released in theaters on July 21.
“Some people leave the movie absolutely devastated,” Nolan said of the first screenings in a new interview with Wired magazine.
“They can’t talk. I mean, there is an element of fear that is in the story and at the core. But the love of characters, the love of relationships is as strong as ever.”
The director added, “It’s an intense experience because it’s an intense story. I recently showed it to a director who said it was something like a horror movie. I don’t mind.”
Nolan admitted that he was “relieved to finish” the project because of the strong emotional impact it had on him.
“When I started finishing the film, I started to feel this color, which is not in my other films, just darkness. It’s here. The film struggles with this,” he said.
Earlier this week, the historian who wrote the 2005 biography on which Oppenheimer is based said he was “still recovering emotionally” after watching the film.
Kai Bird, co-author of the book “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” said (via The Independent): “I think it will be a stunning artistic achievement, and I hope that it will really stimulate a national, even global conversation about the issues that Oppenheimer desperately wanted to speak about — how to live in the atomic age, how to live with a bomb and about McCarthyism — what it means to be a patriot and what is the role of a scientist in a society saturated with technology and science, to speak out on public issues.”
“Oppenheimer” will be Nolan’s longest film, its duration will be slightly less than three hours. It will also be the director’s first R-rated film since 2002’s Insomnia.