Manuel São Bento
FULL SPOILER-FREE REVIEW @ https://www.firstshowing.net/2023/review-nolans-oppenheimer-is-a-harrowing-tale-of-one-mans-life/ "Oppenheimer is a true masterclass in how to build extreme tension and suspense through fast, detailed dialogue, an insanely powerful sound production, and an equally explosive score from Ludwig Göransson. Words cannot fully describe Hoyte van Hoytema's gorgeous cinematography. It's a harrowing, disturbing, genuinely frightening story about how one man's compulsion and political power changed the world. Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., and Emily Blunt shouldn't miss any awards ceremonies… they're absolutely superb, as are the rest of the exceptional actors involved in the movie. Pacing, structure, and runtime, in addition to its quasi-documentary style and its narrative complexity, make this a difficult, heavy watch that will, for sure, leave some viewers disappointed, bored, or simply tired. Ultimately, Christopher Nolan justifies the use of the expression "not for everyone". Rating: A-
**OPPENHEIMER IS "NOT FOR EVERYONE" AS STATED BY CHRISTROPHER NOLAN BEFORE THE RELEASE OF THE FILM HIMSELF. ** But those who have ample knowledge of physics and chemistry, this film is a masterpiece. The film takes the viewer into the mind of the "Father of the atomic bomb" how he thinks, how he feels with much accuracy. Nolan beautifully explains his life both on a private and professional front. The music, the sounds with each scene are top notch. The visuals of QUANTUM PHYSICS, FISSION, NUCLEAR EXPLOSION are mind-boggling. If possible, watch it in IMAX. THE MOVIE IS FULL OF DIALOGUES, CONVERSATIONS MOVING BACK AND FORTH IN TIMELINE. It's a historical biography with fantabulous acting by C.M., E.B., R.D.J. and more. The scenes with ALBERT EINSTEIN are just wow. A plethora of scientists(BOHR, FERMI, TELLER, HEISENBERG) of the age can be seen throughout. There are no action scenes if you are in search of that. IT IS A CINEMATOGRAPHIC BRILLIANCE. IF U CAN'T WATCH SIENTIFIC HISTORY JUST DON'T GO.
Telling the story of a larger-than-life individual truly calls for a larger-than-life film, and that’s precisely what writer-director Christopher Nolan has come up with in his latest feature outing, handily the best work of his career. Nolan’s three-hour opus about the life of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), director of the Manhattan Project (and more commonly known as the Father of the Atomic Bomb), provides viewers with a comprehensive biography of this brilliant and thoughtful yet often-inscrutable and naïve physicist who took on a patently dangerous venture that left him morally conflicted about the nature of his creation. The story, which spans several decades of the scientist’s life, chronicles his development of “the gadget” and the fallout he suffered as a consequence of his left-wing political leanings and his efforts to keep the released nuclear genie from getting out of control. The film is admittedly a little overlong and probably could have used some editing in the opening and final hour, but, in the interest of telling the whole story of Oppenheimer’s odyssey, its length is understandable (and, consequently, justifiable). The picture’s production values are all top shelf, especially its brilliant cinematography, stirring original score and superb sound quality, an element that truly leaves audiences with a bona fide visceral experience. Moreover, the narrative is skillfully and eloquently brought to life by this offering’s outstanding ensemble cast, including Murphy, Matt Damon, Tom Conti, Benny Safdie, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, Rami Malek, and, especially, Robert Downey Jr., who delivers a stellar, award-worthy supporting performance showing acting chops that I never knew he possessed. “Oppenheimer” is easily the best film of the summer movie season, if not all of 2023 thus far. It packs a potent punch and delivers a message that we can all never hear too often, poignantly reminding us all of the importance of not falling prey to the same Promethean burden that Oppenheimer was forced to shoulder.
Cillian Murphy offers an assured and considered performance here as the man who is credited with developing the bomb that hastened the end of WWII in the far east. He is the increasingly acclaimed, eponymous, physicist who is made aware by Admiral Lewis Strauss (another strong performance from Robert Downey Jr.) that it just possible that the Russians have the A-bomb. Now Oppenheimer already suspects that the Nazis are also well on their way to weaponising the atom - his earlier education and career had introduced him to some of the prominent minds in the UK and in Germany who were quite capable of taking the theory forward; so he begins to pressurise the American government to begin it's own programme - and the "Manhattan Project" is born. Motivated/goaded/galvanised by the ambitious "Col. Groves" (Matt Damon) he assembles a formidable collection of scientific minds at a purpose built, desert, location which he christens Los Alamos, and over the next three years - and with $2bn to spend - they work on the science whilst plutonium and uranium are being simultaneously processed at an irkingly glacial pace! Given that much of this is reasonably well documented history, the actual plot here has little by way of jeopardy. Instead, Christopher Nolan attempts via his writing and direction to put some meat on the bones of the characters here. It's clear that Oppenheimer is a bit of a Lothario, but it's also clear that he can engender the loyalty of a variety of people with diverging views - not just surrounding the science of their project, but around the morals and ethics of creating something that - well, you can't get the toothpaste back into the tube. The latter portion of this drama focusses on the subsequent, communist-obsessed, witch-hunting that went on attempting to persecute and smear this remarkable and flawed individual, and it makes some interesting postulations about just who was pulling whose strings. It also has quite a penetrating resonation about it - not just, specifically, about Oppeneheimer - but about all of those post-event "enquiries" that rarely deliver an honest appraisal of what was done in the name of expediency at the time, but ends up more of a character assassination exercise by those who didn't do anything against those who did and had to. Though at times the pace of this thing helps to keep it enthralling, it is too long - at times it really does plod along. Perhaps an other, objective, eye on the writing/direction may have tightened it up without having to sacrifice any of the potency of the story. Maybe someone needs to tell Mr. Nolan that a three hour film isn't always required! That said, it's a gorgeous film to look at. The aesthetics are first rate and the entire sentiment of the film reeks of authenticity. I do think this thrives better on a big screen so try to see it as it was intended. It's though provoking, complex, characterful - and well worth a watch.
This film takes you on an exhilarating journey through history, skillfully weaving together captivating storytelling and breathtaking visuals. The performances were top-notch, leaving me completely immersed in the characters' emotions. A definite must-see!
Cillian Murphy, so hot right now. Film is a little long though.
Louisa Moore - Screen Zealots
The intersection of innovation, science, political bureaucracy, and ethics meet in writer-director Christopher Nolan‘s “Oppenheimer,” a dark, challenging biopic about the father of the atomic bomb, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. This profound epic clocks in at three hours yet never feels too long, even if it’s painfully clear that Nolan is indulging himself in a passion project. During World War II, Lt. General Leslie Groves Jr. (Matt Damon) appoints physicist Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Assembling a team of the brightest scientists the country has to offer, the experts spend years developing and designing the atomic bomb. When their final product is used against Japan on July 16, 1945, the world witnesses its first nuclear explosion in an event that not only ends the war, but forever changes the course of history. There has been much hype about the fact that Nolan chose to film in IMAX, but the large format feels wasted here. The visuals are far from stunning, and the film is mostly a dramatic, dialogue-heavy history lesson that’s a far cry from what I’d call “entertaining.” It’s a great movie that’s engaging, sophisticated, and intelligent, but those expecting traditional thrills are going to be greatly disappointed. Save your money, because seeing this in IMAX isn’t really worth it. Nolan’s film is poignant in a way that’s chillingly relevant. His story not only explores one of the most important figures in U.S. history, but also makes you think about the current lack of empathy that’s plaguing society. There’s a very real moral question about humanity’s ability to make something that will help save the lives of many but also result in the death of innocents, and Nolan makes a strong political statement in a surprisingly restrained manner. His commentary on the far-reaching effects of such a powerful weapon born from the intersection of innovation, science, and government, while being an invention that has changed but also endangered the world, will give you chills. Nolan’s script is terrific, and is one of my favorite screenplays of the year. Nolan tells much more of the obscure back story of Oppenheimer’s professional and personal life that few know, and it makes for a lengthy (but interesting) narrative. The film includes his ties to the Communist Party, Hoover’s FBI investigation, his tangles with Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.), and an eventual closed-door hearing that was designed to strip him of his security clearance years after the war ended. “Oppenheimer” is a complex film that requires your full attention, with myriad characters and time jumps that will keep you on your toes. A basic knowledge of history is beneficial, but those who have only heard the name Robert Oppenheimer and are aware of the very basics (like the fact that he was involved in the creation of the atomic bomb) won’t be completely lost. In addition to complicated discussions of quantum physics, there are weighty themes about the dangers of government bureaucracy and the moral and ethical implications of creating a weapon of mass destruction. Nolan isn’t the type of storyteller who is keen on hand holding, and it’s refreshing to see a riveting movie that’s made for thinking audiences.
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