Popping along to my local Showcase Cinema yesterday to see the much hyped new Christopher Nolan film – Oppenheimer, I was concerned about the three hour duration. Would I be able to keep my eyes open in a dark room for this long? Well, I definitely remained fully awake as this film was nothing less than an eye-opener.
In A Nutshell
Robert Oppenheimer studied in Cambridge (near me) and went on to be a leading light in Quantum Physics. He was asked to set up a research project that would ultimately develop an atomic bomb which would be actually used towards the end of the Second World War.
Seeing such enthusiasm for making this bomb really made me feel awkward. The fact that it was a race and they seemed to treat it like a game was a difficult aspect to handle.
However, the acting was magnificent and the story was thoroughly explored. Great actors were brought in to play people such as Truman (Gary Oldman) and Einstein (Tom Conti). Matt Damon came in as the guy in charge of the Manhattan Project and worked side by side with Oppenheimer. His acting was also to a high standard.
I was a little let down by the casting of Robert Downey Junior – Iron Man – in this as Lewis Strauss. He was his usual wooden self and this role would have been acted better by someone like Leo DiCaprio or even Ben Affleck.
The last time I saw Cillian Murphy was in ‘A Quiet Place 2’ with Emily Blunt. It was great to see them reuniting under Christopher’s direction. I thought Cillian gave a stable and well rounded performance as Oppenheimer. He stayed consistently in role as a convincing scientist with a complicated situation playing on his mind.
Emily Blunt was Kitty, his wife, and showed up at key moments during the narrative. She was a league above the rest in this film. In my opinion her acting was gritty, sarcastic and utterly convincing. She is not quite up to Kate Winslet’s and Cate Blanchett’s level of chameleon transformations but she did incredibly well.
For me, Christopher needs a Best Director Oscar and Cillian a Best Actor nod. Emily should at very least pick up a Best Supporting Actress as she was limited by the fact her character was only in about half an hour of the film.
Squirming In My Seat
The moment they tested the bomb I winced. The idea that they went ahead and blew up something – even though they didn’t know if it would set the atmosphere alight and destroy the whole world – startles me. I cowered in my seat when the painfully bright light shone across New Mexico and was later followed up by an ear-splitting bang.
The subject matter was very sad in that this development in history led to the awful destruction of two Japanese cities. It also led to the Cold War. Was it necessary?
Despite the subject being very gritty, the Oppenheimer movie itself was cleverly written, expertly directed and powerfully acted. Go see this magnificent film now!
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