Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Casey Affleck
Director: Christopher Nolan
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Christopher Nolan
In Cinemas: July 21, 2023
Based on the book American Prometheus, Christopher Nolan adapts Oppenheimer to the big screen in his latest offering, which tells the story of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. This also marks the sixth collaboration between Nolan and Cillian Murphy, who takes the leading role for the first time. The film gives an in-depth insight into Oppenheimer’s professional and personal life during his involvement in developing the atomic bomb, which eventually got dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima during the Second World War. Set in the 1940s and centred mainly around the US federal government’s Manhattan Project, which focused on researching and forming nuclear weapons that led to the first-ever detonation in the United States called the Trinity test. Initially, it was a response to fears that German scientists that had been working on a weapon using nuclear technology.
From the opening scene, the film immediately demands your attention instantaneously with the clever use of sound and visuals with superb editing that will have you invested in a matter of seconds. The look of this movie is nothing short of perfection. Every minuscule detail is acknowledged in the production design, with every vital characteristic addressed impeccably throughout the movie. From movie props and costume design to specific historical timelines and continuity, nothing ever remotely comes under the radar. The build-up towards the highly anticipated explosion is worthwhile when the story’s pacing sometimes seems slow. Still, it is some extraordinary display of creative brilliance when it happens, considering no CGI was used to re-enact it. The tension before the lead-up had me nearly biting my nails in worry and stress, even when knowing the positive outcome of the Trinity test, and this is what Nolan prefects so well. He impressively coordinates the rigidity elements needed for the audience’s response effortlessly and beautifully in every scene. Sound design is one of the primary and essential components of the movie; it succeeds and has that sudden connection and interaction with viewers that evoke specific emotions consistently; composer Ludwig Göransson excels here expertly.
The magnitude of the high level and calibre of each actor’s quality and performance is outstanding, and again Nolan brings out the excellence and maximum potential in each character seamlessly. This is why Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Emily Blunt all took a 4 million dollar pay cut to work with him, and they all shine so well in the scenes that they are in. Respectfully, Cillian Murphy overshadows every actor and dominates and controls each scene continually when he is on screen. He angelically exhibits his craft masterfully during every dialogue and silent moment; there are parts in this film where Murphy has no facial expressions or verbal words to say, yet we still know exactly what he is thinking and considering. While preparing for his role, he went on an extreme weight loss programme and did extensive research on Oppenheimer. This commitment and dedication alone put into the role should not go unnoticed during awards season, and it is obvious to see the display of skill. Nolan again produces and successfully delivers an astonishing, powerful film that will leave you feeling floored.
Overall: 10 / 10