Directed By Christopher Nolan

Starring – Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

The Plot – While engulfed in a deconstructive world war, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy) works with a team of scientists to develop the atomic bomb, in hopes of beating the Nazi’s and their 18-month head start to worldwide devastation.

Rated R for some sexuality involving nudity, and adult language

(3) Oppenheimer | New Trailer – YouTube


Even for the world’s most influential filmmaker, Nolan crafts a masterclass biopic in the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer that rivets and brings audiences to its knees, throughout a stiff character study that never feels overshadowed by Oppenheimer’s own creation. Nolan does this not only by vividly conveying the magnitude and responsibility of Robert’s world-changing decision, with the lives of billions in his hands, but also a thorough dissection of the creator, whom Nolan responsibly paints as anything but a hero, for the unmistakable impact that can still be felt, over seventy years later. It’s a cautionary tale about creationism that is driven heavily by indulging dialogue throughout an overly ambitious three hour run time, but one that brought to life feelings of Oliver Stone in his prime, with thick atmospheric tension amidst operatic dialogue in delivery that was made all the more impactful with Ludwig Goransson delivering what is perhaps his most urgently unraveling complete score to date. While the run time is overindulgent, it earns every one of its minutes by the complete picture in scope and scale that it accurately and articulately conveys, with corresponding character arcs that are just as vital as Robert, in illustrating his influence towards each of them, which, for better or worse doesn’t always resolve itself with cinematic closure of artificiality. But similar to the people that Robert surrounds himself with, which ultimately define his efforts, so too does Nolan, as once more the command of Hoyte Van Hoytema behind the lens wields some monumental choices in presentation that pay off brilliantly towards the integrity of the film. For starters, the complete absence of computer generated imagery conveys the magic of cinema, especially in Nolan’s decision to craft an actual atomic bomb for the occasion. In addition, Hoytema’s imagery supplants a darkly ominous and almost hypnotic entrancement in everything from its color choices, to its subliminal framing, which always provide meaningful merit towards every spell-binding shot. In particular, the black and white scenes during post-bomb depositions in courtrooms, articulate a moral shade of grey to the proceedings that when combined with the absence of color conveying the loss of hope and even ingenuity, profoundly proves that more is underlined beneath the surface than just the events being discussed in the dramatic dialogue, in turn supplanting major replay value to a film that as previously mentioned, reaches the three hour mark with confidence. On that aspect, there are moments in the film that certainly proceeded with urgency and momentum more smoothly than others, but there isn’t a single scene that I would omit from this finished product, especially with the third act climax, which surprisingly doesn’t resonate towards the events of the bomb’s big pay-off. Nolan has also assembled once more a dream team of big names to the production that certainly generates a surprise cameo behind every corner, giving his top billing stars many dream team engagements that are a pure delight to bask in. On those primary names, Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt supply mesmerizing turns for entirely different reasons, as the ladies in the life of Robert Oppenheimer, with Pugh’s unsettling darkness balancing out Blunt’s stern stoicism for performances that hopefully silence the doubters that Nolan doesn’t know how to write female characters. In addition, Robert Downey Jr deserves nothing short of an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, as he makes the most of his sporadic time with a pathos for Oppenheimer adversity Lewis Strauss that not only feels lived in with transforming nuances, but also gauging of the capability that Downey has for completely dominating a sequence, regardless of whom he shares it with. Cillian Murphy also dazzles in his first lead in a Nolan film, with heavily emotive eyes and registered consciousness that makes it easy to tap into the psychology of the character, even when the attention of the scene isn’t audibly calling for it. Aside from Murphy visually bringing to life similarities in the appearance of the real life J. Robert Oppenheimer, with little to no discerning make-up in the forray, it’s the humbling humanity that he brings to the character that is most tragic in the evolution of the character, with his initial energy to create a bomb giving way to an internal and eternal regret for creation that highlights the door that has been opened by him, simply can’t be shut before future imitators stake their claim. Finally, while the entrancing visuals effectively register the scope of this film, the stakes lend themselves entirely to the intricacies of the bold sound designs, this time with a much-needed refinement in their intrusion on the clarity of the dialogue, which made “Dunkirk” and “Tenet” a chore to get through. Here, the dialogue never felt even remotely challenging to my interpretation, and when combined with the stomping, rattling and echoing of the chorus of devastation that plays and weighs frantically in the mind of our titular protagonist, conjures an unshakably haunting captivity towards his psyche that grows all the louder and permanent with the manufactured success of his objective, which did unfortunately cost many innocent men, women and children their lives, as a result.


While “Oppenheimer” is a rousing success that demands all of your money, there were a couple of elements to the proceedings that I wish were touched up on, especially in the book-ended sides of its showing, which were easily the weakest parts of the film, for my money. This sentiment can be felt the loudest in the opening act of the movie, where a trio of timelines converge simultaneously in their storytelling to get the film off and running in the most convoluted and disjointed manner, with difficulties in initial investments that made it difficult to remain focused towards what is transpiring. While the flashing between the arcs does eventually settle down in ways that correspond within the many themes and events being discussed in the linear timeline, there is a part of me that occasionally wished that the conventional route of storytelling, at least initially, would’ve been used to suspend such freneticism, especially since the storytelling really doesn’t find its confidence until around the film’s half hour mark. In addition to this, some of the dialogue of the third act resulted in telling us what we needed to know, instead of showing us, resulting in some confusion with events being discussed in the court room that we the audience never experienced. I can certainly understand that in a three hour movie, you simply have to draw the line somewhere, but when key events brought into question could’ve further added complexity to the character evolution of Oppenheimer, then I would’ve rather experienced them for myself, especially since they’re highlighted in ways that are anything but subtle, when compared to the rest of the dialogue, which is smoothly subversive.

“Oppenheimer” is a disturbingly mesmerizing vision of what humanity is capable of bringing upon itself when peace and prosperity are sacrificed for world domination. Despite its scope and scale being among the most ambitious in Nolan’s career as a visionary storyteller, the intimacies from one man’s vantage point, with the whole world in his hands, pleasantly grounds this story in ways that meet it at eye level with the humanity left in ruins, in turn leading to a three-dimensional evolution in arc that dares to seek out the change that he wishes to see in the world, long before it’s regretfully too late.

My Grade: 9/10 or A

6 thoughts on “Oppenheimer

  1. Just got out and I feel so conflicted. I’m very happy you gave this a 9/10 and had amazing glowing reviews for this (all warranted reasons.) I think this is one of his most passionate films – it’s evident. But boy did I feel this length hard. Also, for Nolan to have an IMAX standard applied to nearly all his movies by default, this movie doesn’t feel worthy of an IMAX watch as the spectacle scenes only took up about 10% of the film, leaving me to believe it’ll take hardcore Nolan fans (or history buff/physics fans) to really appreciate what Nolan has done here or they will leave feeling a bit robbed of the “Nolan experience”. I also love you mentioning the delight of the cameos. I was giddy the whole time and I missed Josh Hartnett so much so I was happy to see him back on the screen. Thorough and detailed review! Great job!

  2. This one on the other hand absolutely met the hype for me. This was such a heavy movie, yet I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of it. I partially give that credit to Nolan who continues to strive to deliver staggering cinematic experiences with incredible technial prowess and this one is no exception. Yet, it was the performances that hooked me the most. I also fully agree with your thoughts on both Robert Downey Jr and Cillian Murphy who were both phenomenal in this. I can’t say that it’s one of Nolan’s most rewatchable movies, but it’s definitely one of his most memorable. Incredible review for an incredible movie!

  3. I have waited for this movie and can not wait to see it, especially after your glowing review. Thank you sir for sharing your time.

  4. Excellent review. Wow 9/10. Don’t see those very often from the Film Freak so I am definitely intrigued to see this one.
    I appreciate the heads up on the challenges during the beginning of the movie because sometimes I have a hard time if I’m not hooked in early on so I’ll be sure to ride it out. Didn’t realize Robert Downey junior was in this one. Great job Tipee

  5. This was a really powerful movie, and emotional at times with its storytelling. It was another movie where I felt like I learned a lot on something that I previously did not know much about. I really liked that they kept the Einstein conversation a secret until the end. And there was a bit of a twist there that was unexpected. Really a great film!

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