In the film "Oppenheimer," Director Christopher Nolan showcases a remarkable performance by Cillian Murphy and his exceptional directing skills to create a true masterpiece.
Nolan is known for bending time and space in movies like “Tenet” and “Inception.” In this movie, it is the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer that Nolan ricochets back and forth through the man’s life. In a short while, the viewer understands which part of Oppenheimer’s life we’re seeing.
Central to the movie is Oppenheimer's pivotal role in spearheading the development of the atomic bomb. Surprisingly, we discover that he had a ranch in New Mexico, raising questions about his seemingly self-serving recommendation to hastily construct Los Alamos to house the scientists under his guidance.
One might think that the drama of the countdown to the a-bomb explosion would be the climax. But it is not. The story arc of Oppenheimer is broader than that.
I watched the movie in 70mm in a theatre with an excellent sound system. Nolan delved into the mind of the young Oppenheimer with loud displays of space and electricity. I thought it ironic when the countdown for the first atomic bomb reached zero, there was perfect silence. Just blinding light. It was undoubtedly true to life.
Cillian (pronounced kill-i-an) Murphy may be best known for his leading role in “Peaky Blinders.” Nolan previously directed Murphy in “Inception.” His portrayal of Oppenheimer resembles neither of those. A slate of excellent actors supports him.
Matt Damon plays General Leslie Groves, the man charged with making a nuclear weapon possible. Upon seeing Damon appear in that role, it made perfect sense. What was odd was that Academy-Award winning Rami Malek play a bit part. Playing a major role was Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss. Strauss was Oppenheimer’s biggest supporter before he turned into his worst antagonist. But Downey was unrecognizable in that part. When Downey played Charlie Chaplin years ago, he proved his range. This role furthers that talent. He’s not just Iron Man.
Speaking of range, Gary Oldman makes a brief appearance as Harry S Truman, just to show his. More screen time was spent by Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr.
Emily Blunt played Oppenheimer’s wife and Florence Pugh, his mistress. My problem was that in the movie they looked too much alike.
I have a degree in physics, but one is hardly needed. This is a drama about human interaction, about egos big and small, about winning a war without regard for future repercussions. The movie runs exactly three hours but seems shorter.