Why Oppenheimer Shifts Between Black-And-White & Color, Explained By Nolan

Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan explains why the movie shifts between black-and-white and color. The director of blockbusters The Dark Knight, Inception and Interstellar this summer turns his lens on a real historical figure of massive import, unleashing his highly-anticipated biopic of A-bomb creator Robert Oppenheimer. Starring Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, the film has already wowed audiences with its dramatic trailers, teasing a literally explosive story about the quest to build humanity’s ultimate weapon.

Among the many things teased by those compelling Oppenheimer trailers is the film’s color scheme, which shifts between color and black-and-white, and now Nolan himself has revealed why he employed this unconventional approach. Speaking to Total Film (via GamesRadar), the director explained that the shift signals a literal change in perspective, which in fact was written into the script from the very beginning. Check out what Nolan said in the space below:

“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 color scenes are subjective; the black-and-white scenes are objective. I wrote the color scenes from the first person. So for an actor reading that, in some ways, I think it’d be quite daunting.”

Everything Christopher Nolan Has Revealed About Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer is in some ways a mysterious film, and that aura of mystery is no doubt a big part of how the summer release is being marketed. But along the way, Nolan has dropped a few nuggets of information to tantalize film fans, and generate discussion about his epic biopic.
The first big reveal Nolan let loose was actually about the film’s shift back-and-forth from color to black-and-white, which he teased back in November to Total Film. This trick is of course one Nolan previously used on his film Memento, where black-and-white scenes moved in linear order, while color scenes went backward in time. Oppenheimer it seems is more concerned with shifting perspectives than time-related acrobatics, which may come as a relief to those who were confused by films like Memento and Tenet.
But perhaps the biggest and most stunning Nolan revelation about Oppenheimer came to Total Film last year, when he amazingly said that he recreated the Trinity atomic test without using CGI. According to Nolan, the intention was to do as much of the film practically as was possible, which also meant building a recreation of Los Alamos. In Nolan’s typically understated way, he called these undertakings “huge practical challenges.” At least going by trailers, it seems Nolan’s hard work has paid off with a film that will live up to the director’s previous works by blowing minds.
Source: Total Film

Leave a Comment