Where Will Oppenheimer Rank In Nolan’s Filmography?

Oscars 2024

You could count on one hand the number of film directors who grab global attention and news when their latest film is set for release.

Christopher Nolan is one of those people, and he is arguably the most prominent director in the movie business today.

Although Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino are huge A-list names, Nolan's 21st Century body of work eclipses both of his adversaries.


Besides The Irishman, Scorsese has veered away from the genre that made his brand so internationally recognisable. Scorsese's last venture into Mob films was Casino in 1995.

While Casino is highly-rated and yet another successful instalment of his unbelievable working partnership with Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese, some critics believed this signalled the high point of his catalog, and the quality remained high but had dipped.

The epic film is set in 1973 when the Mafia controlled casino gaming and Las Vegas was a much more dangerous place to live. The changes in this industry have been astonishing since then.

As you'd expect, in the space of half a Century, you can now access an online casino, with all the same types of games, without having to travel to your nearest land-based casino.

Many people prefer the solitude of casino gaming from home. However, Scorsese's classic is cemented in time and gives you an idea of how the gambling industry once operated in the United States. Luckily, the casino experience today is far more convenient.

The Quality of Christopher Nolan

Nolan's run of films since Memento has been unbelievably consistent. He directed The Dark Night trilogy between 2005 and 2012, widely considered one of the greatest trilogies in cinema history.

However, let's not forget Inception in 2010, another classic widely considered one of the greatest films of the 2010s.

Following the immense success of the multi-billion-dollar trilogy, and Inception, Nolan established himself as Hollywood's most in-form and sought-after director.

However, many believe his magnum opus to be the 2017 war film Dunkirk, which received many accolades for its directing, cinematography, and realism.

Nolan's Last Few Films

There's not much doubt that Christopher Nolan was one of the most prolific and consistent directors throughout the 2010s.

However, following Tenet, released in 2020 to fairly positive reviews, many critics pointed out that the film was quite bloated and difficult to follow.

Nolan dreams big, and his films rarely respect the concept of time. This has created a world whereby he can fully stretch across and through the timelines of characters and create sprawling, multi-dimensional worlds that are difficult for the viewer to grasp.

While this worked for Inception, where a nice balance was found, Tenet did stretch it a bit too far the other way, it wasn't his best work, but it certainly wasn't a bad film, either.

Oppenheimer

The production of Oppenheimer has been kept quiet for a considerable period. The film is set for a release in July 2023, Cillian Murphy is in the lead role, but it's an ensemble cast featuring some of the world's biggest names, including Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr.

The budget for the film has strayed into the nine-figure territory, but for a director as esteemed and well-established as Nolan, recuperating this and more at the box office shouldn't be an issue.

Oppenheimer revolves around the same theme as his incredibly well-received Dunkirk. But, of course, it is a different theatrical piece focusing on creating the atomic bomb that ended World War 2.

For his role in The Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer is considered the key reason the Americans were able to develop a nuclear weapon during World War 2 more quickly than the Germans, resulting in the end of the wide scale conflict.

The film will dive much further into the life of Oppenheimer, who was renowned for his exploits and incredible discoveries in the chemistry field.

Still, he was also a controversial figure for some of his political views, and his life is one of great interest and intrigue.

He is revered amongst some of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th Century and constantly tangled with his conscience, given the destructive nature of his infamous design.

Final Thoughts

The initial adverts for the film look promising; Cillian Murphy is a phenomenally gifted actor with all the presence and charisma of a real elite actor.

He will no doubt bring justice to the character who was one of the most revered in American culture. His genius fuelled fierce discussion within the era and society within which he lived.

He was a misunderstood protagonist for some and a polemist for others, especially for pacifists who held him personally accountable for the creation of such a horrific weapon, yet sympathised with some of the political beliefs he had, which deviated away from what you would expect for somebody in the position he was in.

Ultimately, Nolan is an expert at capturing a moment in time. Although some may argue his real expertise lies in the superhero genre, Dunkirk is a haunting, beautiful depiction of the gratuity and barbarism of war.

In many ways, this aligns with the theme underpinning Oppenheimer. If Nolan can bottle that and project it onto the big screen as he did with Dunkirk, this movie will be captivating, and the anticipation is warranted.

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