Oppenheimer Movie Review: Over the years, Christopher Nolan has established his name in the movie realm. He is known for his spectacular visuals and immersive experiences brought forward with minimal CGI usage. Nolan has retained a cult following with his masterpieces like Inception, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Memento and The Prestige.
When it was disclosed that Nolan will be collaborating with Cillian Murphy once again, but this time with Murphy being the main character portraying J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is known for his contributions to the atomic bomb during the Second World War, we were gearing ourselves up for a big masterpiece that could overshadow all his previous works.
However, Christopher Nolan’s big project Oppenheimer has received mixed reviews from the audiences, some of them calling it Nolan’s weak work. We bring to you Oppenheimer Movie Review to show why it is not only what you must have expected but much more than that.
Oppenheimer Movie Review:
Firstly, Oppenheimer is a drama- about the journey of a man who had a fascination for physics but also seemingly intense guilt seeing the aftermath of the bombings. The movie is different from what Christopher Nolan worked on before. It is about geopolitics, physics, the self-analysis of a man, his relations with other scientists and historical events all blended into one.
If you are going for thrills and climax then Oppenheimer will utterly disappoint you for three long hours. It has no “dream” sequences but a simple non-linear narrative augmented with some stunning visuals. But if you are going to learn of the circumstances surrounding probably the most important events in the history of the world, Oppenheimer is a treat for you.
Considering it is Nolan, there seems to be a little need to explain the approach of filmmaking for the movie. Still, you are in for some stunning visuals, jaw-dropping sequences and breath-taking imagery backed with perfect sound timing giving you the “jumpy” reactions every now and then (especially during the test).
Although the movie mainly concentrates on Oppenheimer’s journey as a young physicist to the leader of the “Manhattan Project,” it also shows several other aspects of that period- the “commie” problem in the United States, being a Jewish during the Holocaust, and geopolitical situations of that time being some of them. Nolan has not worked extensively in this niche before, however, the way it has been woven into the movie shows his brilliance as a film-maker.
It is also a story of a man captivated by physics who is blinded by the endless probabilities of science and realizes much later the doors of sheer destruction his creation has opened for the future. As some are calling Oppenheimer 20-th century “Frankenstein”, his realization is evident from the hollowed and haunted expressions. So while we are living in a world divided by black and white, Oppenheimer is a much needed “gray” space for us.
Oppenheimer is a brilliant and determined physicist- evident from his vast works- he is a patriot but also a kind-hearted man for his community as he sends money for refugees to escape. He has moral compasses too. However, he is also close to a womanizer, and has several issues with his personality. During the security hearing, it becomes clear that while Oppenheimer was aware of the massive destruction his nuclear weapons can cause, he went on with his work to resist the Germans from using the same.
Cillian Murphy gives his career-best performance as a scientist. From someone who is homesick and bullied at Cambridge, to a passionate and dedicated leader who established an entire town at Los Alamos for Manhattan Project and later to a “destroyer of worlds’ overcome by the massive responsibility on his shoulders, Murphy has displayed the mental state of Oppenheimer wonderfully.
However “actors will only get you so far”- Christopher Nolan adds his charm to the movie to bring out Oppie’s state of mind after the bombing. He is conflicted, horrified and unable to process what he has unfolded. When you watch the movie, you feel like you have become a part of that character too- you can feel his panic attacks, his anxious moments and his hallucinations with him- all because of the gigantic guilt that he has been bottling up.
Robert Downy Jr. also surprised me with his sheer ability to play such a complicated role. His dialogue in the film “Power Stays in the Shadows” is bound to send chills down your spine. His probes your conscience and makes you wonder about the thin and blurred line between right and wrong.
There are several sequences that are a masterwork in the movie, however, the montage showing Oppenheimer surrounded by frenzied citizens cheering for the surrender of Japan, oblivious of the scale but aware of the devastation the bombings had caused, and the Oppie using words like “success” and “proud” is pure art.
In Interstellar, there was a quote that stuck with me, “We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars. Now, we just look down and worry about our place in the world.”
Oppenheimer is Nolan’s attempt to concentrate on the dirt. To focus on what is left behind when we have finally reached the pinnacle of our inventions. The real beauty of Oppenheimer was not in its physics and science, rather it was in its human-ness- the way it portrayed the humane side behind all the events that took place. It is not Inception, or Interstellar or any other complicated and mind-boggling movie- it is a raw and real take at one of the biggest events that changed the course of history forever.