OPPENHEIMER is Christopher Nolan’s newest film, and it’s a biopic based on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man that designed the atomic bomb. Full disclosure: I’m a huge Nolan fan, and love his work including The Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, The Prestige, and one of my all- time favorites, Interstellar. This film has been my highest anticipated of the year, so it’s safe to say I went in with very high expectations.
OPPENHEIMER is led by Cillian Murphy as the man himself, and he absolutely kills it in this role. The shear amount of screentime that Murphy has is unbelievable, seeing as the film is a full 3 hours, but not to worry, he never skips a beat. Robert Downey Jr plays Lewis Strauss, a naval officer and businessman who also served two terms in the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. Something interesting in this film is there are two perspectives: Oppenheimer, in color and Strauss, in black and white. I most definitely see RDJ receiving a best supporting actor nomination for this one. His role isn’t gigantic, but he is delivering on so many levels.
This film’s cast is quite possibly the most stacked I’ve ever seen; Nolan loves to fill even the smallest character roles with fantastic actors to help with believability for the audience. It works wonders in this film, everyone really is bringing their all. Some performances I’d like to highlight, although their roles may be much smaller, are Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, and Emily Blunt, who is a massive stand out for me.
The story of this film is a long, very detailed telling of events leading up to the Trinity Test and the repercussions after the bombings in Japan. This film has two different topics it’s attacking, one being science and the other politics. The script is smart and very believable, although with so much dialogue, I think some things could have been cut down to help with pacing.
One of my critiques builds from that pacing and dialogue. I think it may have been personal expectations and some of the marketing, but I did expect more spectacle than this movie displays. It truly is an informative biopic and drama. I went in expecting more spectacle that I’ve seen Nolan display in the past, as well as some marketing calling it the “movie event of the summer.” In terms of the bombs, we only get to see the Trinity Test on screen, and while that may be considered spoiler-ish to some, if I had known that fact going in, I think I could have enjoyed the film much more, by getting my expectations in order.
Overall, OPPENHEIMER is a great biopic that taught me much more than I ever knew about this man or the Manhattan Project. Re-watchability is lower than some of Nolan’s previous films, but at the same time, I think you’ll have to see it at least twice to fully grasp everything. Even just for the number of names! Also, with this film being Nolan, it is filmed in its entirety with IMAX film cameras, but at the same time, I don’t think the biggest screen is an requirement to see this film. This one will stay with you for a while, but I’m not sure it’ll cement itself in pop culture like some of his previous work.
OPPENHEIMER opens only in Theaters July 21st, 2023.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Logan Wischmeier (Contributing Editor) is a Texas native and a massive fan of all genres of film. You can find him talking about movies on YouTube or in line for the latest Star Wars/Comic Book film.
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