If we rank the human-made disasters in the history of the world, the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The atrocity that claimed the lives of more than 3 lakh people is one of the most shocking events for humanity. The film 'Oppenheimer' is a historical document created by Christopher Nolan on the background of the life of Robert J. Oppenheimer, the creator of the atomic bomb that changed the history of the world.
The entire film is set against the backdrop of an investigation into whether Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) helped the Russian Communists. We are shown a young Oppenheimer in the 1920s pursuing his studies at prestigious institutions in England and Germany. The scenes then move on to his friendship with communists, his romance with Jean Tetlock (Florence Pugh), and Oppenheimer's role in the war against Hitler's Nazi forces.
Returning to his native country, he is brought into a program called 'Project Manhattan' of the American government. What is the purpose of this project? He had no idea what the outcome would be. For this project, a separate city is being built in the Indian-owned area of America called Las Alamas. It was there that he and his colleagues made the discovery that would turn the world upside down. A selfish man's ego falsely accuses him and puts him in a guilty cage. With a little twist, Nolan tells the story of whether Oppenheimer brushed off the complaints against him.
A scene late in the second half of the film. After the Hiroshima-Nagasaki incident, Harry Truman, the then President of the United States, invited Oppenheimer to congratulate him in person. On his way to the White House, Oppenheimer says to the president's face, 'Mr. President, I feel like I have blood on my hands.' This is the premise of the film 'Oppenheimer'. This is not just a movie that magnifies a nuclear explosion on a 70mm screen. The story of a prisoner of circumstance who gets swept up in the political maelstrom and suffers from guilt. A story of a celebrated hero who is brought down to zero by the ego of a single man.
This is the film of a lifetime for Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer. He gives a performance that no other actor (including Cillian Murphy) has ever given in a Nolan film. No wonder he got the Oscar for Best Actor. Next up is Robert Downey Jr. as Levi Strauss. As Ironman, he impressed fans all over the world, and after that he didn't impress in anything to say the least. Oppenheimer solves that problem. Matt Damon, Florence Buck, Emily Blunt, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck, Gary Oldman have all given excellent performances. Remy Malek's character stands out in the mind even though he appears in some scenes.
Although there are occasional Nolan touches like the vibrations of quantum physics running through Oppenheimer's imagination, the atomic radiation in the background every time Oppenheimer feels guilty, the vibrations of his surroundings as he stumbles, and the linear storytelling, this is a film that is completely different from the usual Nolan films. In other words, it is doubtful whether Nolan fans will like this film. It doesn't have the brain-teasing screenplay, 'Bakeer'-type twists, or creepy background music that Nolan films usually feature. From the point of view of such placement, they have been deliberately omitted. The film talks more about politics and human emotions beyond science. No film directed by Nolan has ever been so boldly political.
The biggest problem with the film is the long dialogues. The film is difficult to satisfy the average fan who comes to watch the film for entertainment. It's best to go into the film knowing a little about Robert Oppenheimer's background . Running for more than 3 hours, the film has a lot of long shots and can test the patience of many people. Similarly, it is impossible to avoid the difficulty in understanding the deep scientific verses at the beginning of the film and the numerous characters.
Nolan's previous films like 'Memento', 'Inception' and 'Interstellar' all had deep science subtexts that even casual fans could understand. Even the last film 'Tenet' with complex visuals will not be difficult to understand. With such a flawless screenplay, 'Oppenheimer' makes it a bit difficult to follow the dialogues and characters.
The quote from the Gita, 'Now I have become the death that destroys the world', the friendship between Einstein and Oppenheimer, the way it was portrayed in the film is special. Ludwig Kornson's background score is also a major strength of the film. The de-emphasis of the Hiroshima atomic bomb scene, which had been given a huge build-up since filming began, may disappoint fans. The reason is that the scenes are moving towards it right from the beginning of the film. After waiting for that scene, the film ends. However, the way the nuclear test was depicted was grandiose.
The film will stand as a historical document for another 100 years as a witness to a disaster that left a blood stain on the hands of humanity to this day. However, this 'Oppenheimer' has become a film that is celebrated by all parties, even though it has sharpened its scenes to attract not only the global cinema fans but also the average local fan.