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Release Date: 07/21/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Biography. Drama. History.

Studio: Universal Pictures.

"The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb." 


Oppenheimer is a riveting historical drama about the creation of the atomic bomb and the societal alterations it caused thereafter. Knowing almost nothing about the creation of the weapon to end all war, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer isn’t only a phenomenal biopic but its a cinematic achievement to be able to tell such a story in a way that is both emotionally gripping and terrifying. While I disagree with Nolan’s decision to have the film jump around in the historical timeline, by the conclusion I still left utterly shocked and hauntingly satisfied by the events that transpired. 


If Cillian Murphy doesn’t get at least a nod in the realm of film achievement, that in and of itself will be a crime against “cinema”. Murphy delivers a performance for the ages as he truly transforms into Oppenheimer both in his external and internal appearance - he alone is the reason to see the film, but the true reason to rush out and witness the blast in all its horrific glory is in IMAX (preferably 70MM). Nolan leaves behind the norms of digital effects and has created a realistic testing of a nuclear weapon, with the magnificent result on full display. 


Murphy isn’t alone in bringing his all to the role with a wide array of actors taking on the plentiful men and women around Oppenheimer before, during and after the unleashing of the atomic bomb. Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Jason Clarke, Robert Downey Jr. and so many others provide stunning gravitas to the rich history of the individuals led by their immaculate performances. However, among those named, Robert Downey Jr. is the most thought provoking of the bunch, with a majority of his scenes (from his timeline) shot in black and white, this draws an extra dark overtone to the political discussion involving Downey Jr.’s Lewis Strauss. Downey Jr. delivers one of the most elevated and sincere portrayals of a historical villain that could have continued to do some serious harm, if he were in fact moved forward in his political power. 


The production design, the cinematography, the writing, the performances… at every angle the film is a shining star that nearly implodes in on itself with its excruciating 3 hour run. Beautifully shot and thought provoking, but the disconnect in the timeline leads to the extended run seeming all the longer at the cinema. Oppenheimer is grim, depressing, exhilarating, fascinating and yet its beauty can’t help from drawing a few yawns and a few glances at our watches along the path to brilliance. 

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