Christopher Nolan has described the visceral reactions of some people who have seen his latest film, Oppenheimer.

The biographical movie stars Cillian Murphy as the eponymous J Robert Oppenheimer, known as the “father of the atomic bomb”, and is due to be released on 21 July.

“Some people leave the movie absolutely devastated,” Nolan said about early screenings in a new interview with Wired magazine.

“They can’t speak. I mean, there’s an element of fear that’s there in the history and there in the underpinnings. But the love of the characters, the love of the relationships, is as strong as I’ve ever done.”

The 52-year-old British-American director added: “It is an intense experience because it’s an intense story. I showed it to a filmmaker recently who said it’s kind of a horror movie. I don’t disagree.”

Nolan even admitted that he was “relieved to be finished” with the project due to the emotional toll it took.

“As I started to finish the film, I started to feel this colour that’s not in my other films, just darkness. It’s there. The film fights against that,” he said.

Cillian Murphy in ‘Oppenheimer’

(Universal Pictures)

Earlier this week, the historian who wrote the 2005 biography on which Oppenheimer is based said he was still “emotionally recovering” from watching the film.

The biographer, Kai Bird, who co-authored American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, said: “I think it is going to be a stunning artistic achievement, and I have hopes it will actually stimulate a national, even global conversation about the issues that Oppenheimer was desperate to speak out about – about how to live in the atomic age, how to live with the bomb and about McCarthyism – what it means to be a patriot, and what is the role for a scientist in a society drenched with technology and science, to speak out about public issues.”

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Oppenheimer will be led by Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robery Downey Jr and Florence Pugh.

The film’s cast also includes Matthew Modine, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Dane DeHaan, Benny Safdie, David Krumholtz, Jack Quaid, and Alden Ehrenreich.

Its release date on 21 July marks the same day as Greta Gerwig’s Barbie release, which stars Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.

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