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Oppenheimer fans point out ‘disturbing’ shot going unnoticed by many viewers

‘I haven’t been able to get it out of my head,’ one cinemagoer stated

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 03 August 2023 04:20 BST
Oppenheimer trailer

Oppenheimer featured a tiny detail that’s disturbing viewers who noticed it.

The film, written and directed by Christopher Nolan, was released in July, and is on track to become one of the biggest hits of his career.

It tells the story of physicist J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), who was the man who led the creation of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Near the beginning of the film, the character of Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh) is introduced. Tatlock was Oppenheimer’s lover, with whom he continued his relationship while he was married to his wife, Kitty (Emily Blunt).

*Spoilers follow – you have been warned*

Oppenheimer’s involvement with Tatlock is also frowned upon because of her ties to the communist party. This concerns US government officials who employed Oppenheimer to oversee the top secret Manhattan Project.

The fate of Tatlock is hinted at throughout the film, before it’s revealed that she died by suicide. In harrowing scenes, made up of quick shots, she is shown drowning herself in her bathtub.

However, at one point in the film, when it quickly cuts to Tatlock in the bathroom, hands wearing black gloves can be see pushing her head into the tub.

The shot is so quick that many are failing to notice it the first time they watch the film – and even those who do spot it are wondering if they imagined it.

While some are theorising that Nolan is suggesting Tatlock’s suicide was faked, it’s more likely that the filmmaker intended it to be a manifestation of Oppenheimer’s guilt after he’s informed of her death.

Florence Pugh and Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer’ (Universal Pictures)

“One thing in Oppenheimer I haven’t been able to get out of my head is that brief insert of black gloves in that one flashback with Florence Pugh,” @thejoshl wrote, adding: “Nolan was really in his horror mode.”

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“I cannot get the shot of the black glove out of my head,” @NotYetSurgeon wrote, with an additional viewer saying it’s “probably the most disturbing image in the film”.

“It flickers by in the blink of an eye, never to be brought up again,” @ashleynaftule wrote.

Find more reactions to the fleeting moment below.

Oppenheimer is in cinemas now, and has more than quadrupled its budget of $100m in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, Barbie, which was released on the same day as Oppenheimer, will hit $1bn this week. Both films look set to be two of the biggest hits of the year.

Barbie is also receiving acclaim from critics and audiences, although one joke in the film and directed at its lead star Margot Robbie has been branded “self-aware” and the “worst” in the film.

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