Christopher Nolan has given us a great American epic. Showcasing all of his talents. Some say his magnum opus. A cerebral and captivating drama that will be talked about for years to come.
The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.
This is a hard movie to digest. A morally complex story about how one mans idea is powerful enough to change the entire world. How theory can only get you so far and ultimately with great power comes even greater responsibility. Christopher Nolan’s new biopic about one of the most important men in the history of the world; Robert Oppenheimer played by Cillian Murphy explores his life and how he became the “father of the atomic bomb.” A 3 hour epic that focuses on men talking in different rooms, I couldn’t help but find myself stimulated, enthralled and engaged the entire time. That’s the power of Nolan, he’s doing things that no other living film-maker can do.
One thing Nolan loves is the tortured genius that is fueled by something. Batman, Inception, The Prestige, and now Oppenheimer all dealt with trouble and tortured men in some capacity. How they deal with this is all different of course and for Robert Oppenheimer he brought to the world the most dangerous bomb the world had ever known. In the end, he didn’t quite know how he felt about it. “Now I become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Truer words were never spoken to by him. Remember Prometheus stole the power of fire from the gods and gave it to man. For that he was chained to rock and tortured for eternity. Well, this was no different. Oppenheimer gifted the world something truly horrific and he wasn’t the one who got to decide how to use this power, he had to sit back and watch as man used it for evil, evil unlike the world had ever known.
This is the kitchen sink game for Nolan, he uses everything he has ever learned as a film-maker and used it here to propel this to a defining achievement in his already lustrous career. Technically the movie is solid, from the sharp editing, side note – it must have been such a tough job to edit and piece this movie together. The cinematography is impeccable, he has gone on record to say that no CGI was used to make this movie. A thunderous and emotional film score by Ludwig Goransson that sucks you into certain scenes and haunts you in others. One thing Nolan always does so well is how he ebbs and flows the score into his movies Like a perfect symphony. They enhance the most mundane scenes while elevating those already set for glory. How we bob and weave throughout time periods, the back and forth between black and white, is hard to juggle for a lot of film-makers, but not Nolan, who has perfected that craft here with Oppenheimer. The movie moves at a rampant pace, and it’s up to the audience to keep up.
After the movie ended, the theatre felt stunned, almost cold. I said in the beginning, it’s a hard movie to digest with a lot to say and plenty to think about as you walk out. The last scene in particular is some-what of a gut punch. Cillian Murphy morphed himself into Oppenheimer, one of the better overall performances I’ve seen this year. We spend most of the movie with him, just starting at his face while he theorizes and dissects the problems laid out before him. This is a party, there are way to many amazing talents and performances in this movie, some of which I didn’t even know about until I audibly gasped when they appeared on screen. But some standouts were Robert Downey Jr, Alden Ehrenreich, Emily Blunt and Josh Hartnett. I loved all there respected performances and I expect RDJ to be nominated for an Oscar, and hell, I think he must just win. Matt Damon was terrific, Jason Clarke and Florence Pugh. The list could literally go on and on. That was the beautiful thing about this movie, so many famous people on screen and they all meshed together so cohesively, the perfect mixture to create something so powerful.
All roads lead to one significant spectacle and when you get there, it’s almost like the wind gets sucked out of your body. You kind of need to experience this moment for yourselves to understand, but it’s a theatre moment I won’t soon forget. Heck, there’s even a quick moment where Oppenheimer picks up his trademark hat and pipe and it felt like Batman was suiting up to go fight crime in Gotham, I kid you not, you can’t lose who you are deep down.
If you had the intellect to change the course of human history, while also potentially destroying it, what would you do? The fine line between doing what is right or wrong and doing your job as a scientist is towed pretty tightly here.
We get a classic Oceans 11 team up of the worlds most brilliant minds. It kind of serves as Nolan’s Social Network, where we get this mega important biopic that cements him as one of the best living directors of our time. I don’t want to say this is his best work, but it’s very close. After multiple viewings and letting this all sink in, that could change with time. I know that I felt a certain way during and after the movie. This movie won’t be for everyone, not a single punch is thrown, there’s no big chase scene, this is a stone cold drama that features memorable performances across the board. Not everyone can sit and do a 3 hour movie these days. but for me the pacing worked just incredibly well.
I can’t wait to see this again, I believe I need to see it again so fully grasp everything and honestly appreciate it more. You might not like the movie, but there’s no denying the craftsmanship and immaculate work that went into making Oppenheimer. This will have Oscar nominations out the wazoo, and I feel like this is kind of an all time American classic.
Oppenheimer = 94/100