Review – Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer, the latest cinematic offering from auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan, is an absolute tour de force that transcends the boundaries of filmmaking and delves deep into the complex life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned physicist and father of the atomic bomb. It showcases an incredibly talented cast including Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jnr, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon and Rami Malek. Oppenheimer is an enthralling, thought-provoking, and visually stunning piece of art that will leave you breathless. Best seen on an IMAX screen, Nolan has once again created a must-see cinematic event that will stay with you long after you have left the cinema.

The film chronicles the remarkable journey of Oppenheimer, brilliantly portrayed by a transformative performance from the supremely talented Cillian Murphy. The nuanced portrayal captures the multifaceted nature of Oppenheimer’s character, showcasing his brilliance as a scientist, his internal struggles with his political party allegiance, and the moral dilemma that plagued him. The script, also written by Nolan, strikes a perfect balance between historical accuracy and emotional depth, allowing the audience to empathise with Oppenheimer’s complex predicament. A lot of the film is spent in conversations with scientists, politicians and family. The tight script from Nolan allows these conversations to be engaging and builds the tension to the detonation of the test bomb. 

Visually, Oppenheimer is a breathtaking spectacle. Nolan’s masterful direction and keen eye for detail create mesmerising visuals that transport to Los Alamos, New Mexico. The cinematography, coupled with the skilful use of light and shadows, imbues each frame with a sense of urgency and foreboding. The juxtaposition of stunning landscapes and scientific laboratories serves as a powerful metaphor for the delicate balance between creation and destruction and the constant struggle between the two that Oppenheimer juggles throughout the film.

The film’s score, composed by Ludwig Göransson, is a testament to his exceptional talent. The music perfectly complements the narrative, enhancing the emotional impact of key moments and evoking a range of feelings from awe to introspection. Göransson’s score weaves its way through the film, amplifying the tension and creating an immersive experience that lingers long when the visual of the scene has finished. The haunting depths and bass create a foreboding presence that sets a signature sound for this film.

Oppenheimer succeeds not only in exploring the historical significance of the Manhattan Project but also in addressing the ethical implications of scientific advancement. It raises profound questions about the responsibility of scientists and the consequences of their discoveries. The film invites viewers to ponder the inherent duality of human nature, showcasing the stark contrast between the human potential for progress and the destructive capabilities that come with it. Nolan works best when he fuses all of these ideas together with the political, societal and economic struggles at that time.

Oppenheimer boasts an exceptional supporting cast, with each actor delivering a standout performance. While it does seem like everyone involved is angling for an academy award, Murphy carries the film, completely enveloping this character. Showing the duality of scientist and duty to his family, Murphy embodies this by being thoughtful with his lines and his connection with his wife Kitty (Emily Blunt) really shows a human side to their characters. Their chemistry on-screen breathes life into their relationship and helps showcase the complexities of marriage. A surprising cast member was Josh Hartnett, who plays Ernest Lawrence, a Nobel prize-winning scientist and inventor. His interaction with Oppenheimer at various points throughout the story as it shifts through the years, they have great chemistry and an important relationship to the moral conundrum presented to the community. Similarly Robert Downey Jnr. is the best he has ever been in this role. His fierceness punches through the screen and his character’s motivations unravel as the story progresses and he reveals more about his character’s hand in this game. It’s an invigorating performance that will long be remembered.

Overall, Oppenheimer is an extraordinary cinematic achievement that showcases the power of storytelling in exploring the depths of human experience and history. Christopher Nolan’s masterful direction, coupled with exceptional performances, stunning visuals, and a captivating script, make this film an absolute must-see and through his attention to detail delivered Nolan’s masterpiece. It is a thought-provoking and emotional journey that will leave you contemplating the legacy of Oppenheimer and the profound impact of scientific discovery on humanity. It balances all of the contributing factors to this period of time well but ultimately presents this as the darkest day in human history, echoing the sentiment “Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds”

**My screening of Oppenheimer was presented in IMAX 1570 Film in 4K Laser at IMAX Melbourne. This is the ultimate way to discover the film, the way the filmmaker intended.

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Oppenheimer, the latest cinematic offering from auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan, is an absolute tour de force that transcends the boundaries of filmmaking and delves deep into the complex life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned physicist and father of the atomic bomb. It showcases...Review - Oppenheimer
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