Christopher Nolan compares ending of Oppenheimer to Inception

(Image credit: Universal)

Christopher Nolan has compared the ending of Oppenheimer to the ending of Inception. The 2010 movie famously has a very ambiguous ending, which has been widely discussed and debated ever since. 

"I mean, the end of Inception, it's exactly that," Nolan told Wired. "There is a nihilistic view of that ending, right? But also, he's moved on and is with his kids. The ambiguity is not an emotional ambiguity. It's an intellectual one for the audience. It's funny, I think there is an interesting relationship between the endings of Inception and Oppenheimer to be explored. Oppenheimer's got a complicated ending. Complicated feelings."

Inception ends without making it clear whether Leonardo DiCaprio's Cobb has made it back to real life, or if he is caught in a dream world. 

Oppenheimer, meanwhile, focuses on Cillian Murphy's J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is considered the father of the atomic bomb. Considering it's dealing with such dark and thorny subject matter, then, it's no surprise that the ending of the film will be complicated. 

Along with Murphy, the film's bumper cast includes the likes of Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Jack Quaid, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek, Gary Oldman, Kenneth Branagh, Alden Ehrenreich, Dane DeHaan, and David Dastmalchian.

"In truth, there are just not that many actors that you could say, on a first-person approach, 'Yeah, we’re going to be this guy for three hours,'" Nolan told Total Film of working with Murphy. "You're making a demand of an actor that very few actors in the history of film can rise to. I will say that even with that confidence in him, he was continually surprising me on set every day. And when we got into the edit suite and were putting the performance together, and seeing the truth of it, I was absolutely blown away." 

Oppenheimer arrives in theaters this July 21. In the meantime, check out our guide to all the upcoming major movie release dates for everything else 2023 has in store. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.