Oppenheimer Tells the Destruction of a Genius

What if the answer to the greatest threat the world faces is to create a bigger one to threaten it? At the height of World War II, the United States of America entered a race against Nazi Germany to develop the first ever nuclear bomb after the discovery of nuclear fission and its theoretical explanation made the development of an atomic bomb a theoretical possibility. Oppenheimer tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the leading figure in the Manhattan Project, often credited as “father of the atomic bomb”, spearheading the birth of nuclear weapon.

In the modern day of cinema, the concept of movie stars gradually loses its merit; the same does not apply to movie directors such as Christopher Nolan. One of the most beloved directors on the internet and for good reason with filmographies such as The Dark Knight Trilogy, Memento, Inception and many more under his belt, Nolan’s reputation alone attracted the attention towards the movie even before any marketing campaign was introduced. Oppenheimer marks the first biopic directed by Nolan as contrast to the thought provoking thriller we are familiar from him yet his style of directing is still prevalent in this movie such as a disjointed timeline storytelling similar to Memento.

Much of the marketing surrounding the movie revolves around the creation of the first nuclear bomb but the end product was much more than that. J. Robert Oppenheimer was an extremely complicated man in an even more complicated era surrounded by peers and enemies with monumental achievements and discoveries in their respective fields. Oppenheimer covers the rise of arguably the most important scientist of his generation and the controversies surrounding him ranging from his clouded decisions and past affiliation to the communist movement which was viewed as a threat to the United States as the Cold War looms over.

Oppenheimer has a very long list of cast for many of the scientists involved in the Manhattan Project and every single one of them were played by actors who would easily play the leading roles in other movies. Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.) in particular steals every scene that he appears in by delivering a marvelous performance fitting for a character without scientific background surrounded by the greatest mind of the time.

Movies directed by Christopher Nolan have been criticised in the past with its sound mixing which notably included Inception, Interstellar, Tenet and Dunkirk with overwhelming loud noises drowning the entire scene and this one is not an exception although it is noticeably better compared to the predecessor. Many instances of this particular sound mixing was used to depict J. Robert Oppenheimer’s inner thoughts and conflict which is a clever way of directing to showcase his internal struggle without dialogue and fixing what would have been an issue for the movie.

Ultimately, this movie is not for everyone. Oppenheimer covers a sensitive and controversial topic which no one could answer clearly whether the action is justified. With that being said, fans of Nolan’s work can definitely rejoice as this is without a doubt a masterstroke of storytelling. Although Oppenheimer clearly refused to play it safe by abiding towards traditional movie format by sequencing the movie with a disjointed format, the pacing was not lost to it which pays off for a memorable experience fitting to tell the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer.