Chris Nolan‘s movie, Oppenheimer, may feel long, but time went by quickly when I saw it again for the second time. That’s because the time differential from knowing when it’ll happen to searching for that reference regarding black holes kept me glued. Also, this film is not about when that bomb dropped to kickstart the atomic age. Instead, it’s about who J. Robert Oppenheimer is–a brilliant scientist and flawed individual who said, “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.”
In what this filmmaker enthrals viewers with is how this individual sees the world. It’s a place where particles collide, and how it moves is non-linear. Just how he frames this story is with one overarching narrative with plenty of flashbacks laid in between. It’s easy to follow. And when he juxtaposes moments between the present and the past, what’s presented is like waiting for lit stick of TNT to explode.
He knows what he has created. Because this movie is less about Project Trinity and Hiroshima, what we learn about the man is as complex as in how Nolan dissected the Bat in his seminal Dark Knight trilogy. While I’m glad this individual is an advocate of peace, sadly, nobody in this story is truly listening.
What’s presented is a look at everything that took place before and during the Oppenheimer security hearing trails. This opus is a definite slow burn. It’s also a bomb waiting to blow up, since whether it clears this individual of wrongdoing, the damage is already done. His enemy is Lewis Strauss, excellently played by Robert Downey Jr. under tons of makeup. Maybe after the blip he’s aged. I didn’t recognise him at all except by voice.
When we look at the scientist, he’s a very wry and calculating individual. As for his womanising ways, there’s a reason to scowl at him. Cillian Murphy is just as amazing in the role. Although some have dared to challenge his authority, others learn to roll with it. To hear him roar is all we need, and I’m not talking about the emergence of Gojira. Although Truman said he’d shoulder the responsibility, guilt is something that can’t be shifted away. Only God can absolve. And this movie’s relation to spirituality is as convoluted as in what Oppenheimer believes in. Although various scriptures get quoted, I’m sure he knew the meaning behind those words.
This movie will resonate long enough to make everyone ask if we can abandon nuclear science. When given to warmongers, that’s where the real danger begins. Sadly, it’s tough to stop that progress. The damage is done. As for mitigating its uses, I think that’s one idea Nolan wants his fans to consider since that’s what this scientist wanted to use this technology for. We can blame the military for the state of the world. As a result, let’s hope the Doomsday Clock will never hit midnight.
5 Stars out of 5
In part two, I will look at a documentary that answers a lingering plot hole which Nolan’s film doesn’t spend a lof of time on. And that’s who leaked the plans to build a bomb to the Russians!