“Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man. For this, he was chained to a rock and tortured for eternity.”
When we feel like Christopher Nolan’s films can’t get any better than Inception, Interstellar and the Dark Knight’s Trilogies, we are once again proven wrong as he came up with another Oscar-worthy masterpiece.
This movie covers the key events in the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, famed as the father of the atomic bomb. With the combination of complex themes, fractured timelines, and ingenious practical effects, Oppenheimer is unlike any biopic yet seen. While it differs from Nolan’s previous movies that dealt with science fiction, Oppenheimer is all about cold, hard facts, concerning the birth of the atomic bomb and the catastrophic events that followed.
Oppenheimer is the first script written by Nolan in the first person, as he wanted the narrative to be conveyed from Oppenheimer’s perspective. The black-and-white scenes, seem to be fact; Nolan presents them as what happened. While the colour sequences are Oppenheimer’s point-of-view of Nolan’s way to portray the inside of the man’s head by viewing proceedings through his eyes. He had also deliberately chosen to alternate between scenes in colour and black-and-white, explaining that he wanted the film to be conveyed from both an objective and subjective perspective.
The filming involved the use of real explosives to recreate the Trinity nuclear test, forgoing the use of computer-generated graphics. A special set was created with gasoline, propane, aluminium powder, and magnesium is used. While using miniatures for the practical effect, the film’s special effects supervisor Scott R. Fisher referred to them as “big-atures”, as the team tried to make the models as large as possible.
The beautiful imagery of the quantum realm as depicted in the mind of Oppenheimer”
Throughout his career, Nolan has embraced non-linear storytelling, and Oppenheimer is no different. With the narrative jumping back and forth in time, audiences are constantly kept on the edge of their seat as they try to piece the puzzles together.
Casting Director John Papsidera deserved to be one of the all-time greats as he was able to distract us into seeing a well-known Hollywood actor in every corner of the screen and each actor fits perfectly into their role.
Robert Downey Jr. As Lewis Strauss showcased a complex performance that doesn’t reveal its true brilliance until the film’s end. A reminder of why he’s one of Hollywood’s best. This also goes for all the other cast including Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and many others.
But I can’t give enough praise to Cillian Murphy for his portrayal of the father of the atomic bomb. An arduous task brilliantly executed by Murphy but as Peaky Blinders fans know, it’s all in his eyes and here his expressive face leaves one in little doubt of the pain, rage, and regret bubbling beneath Oppenheimer’s surface.
Is Oppenheimer worth the watch?
Most audiences will already know the why, where and how of the story, but Nolan manages to tease tension out of the narrative. His method of storytelling has constructed a complex narrative that is easy to follow. And this adds up when composer Ludwig Goransson brings beauty to the scenes. Who could have forgotten the iconic We Know What You Whisper theme from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Yeah. That’s him.
Oppenheimer begins with a quote about Prometheus stealing from the gods, and then being punished for all eternity. Which mirrors the tale being told here. Nevertheless, it finds compassion in the main character’s story. Making this film is of great importance to understanding the true nature of humanity—a truly well-deserved 10/10 rating.