REVIEW: Oppenheimer is breathtaking 

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Christopher Nolan's new superproduction brings to the screen one of the most important historical events in more than three intense hours; check out our review

Oppenheimer brings the life story of one of the most controversial figures in modern history to the big screen in a long, fast-paced film, spiced up with breathtaking special effects and a magnificent soundtrack. 

For purely critical purposes, we touch on some plot points of the film in this text, but we do our best not to spoil your experience at the cinema, in case you want to watch the film free of possible consequences. spoilers

Cillian Murphy plays the infamous physicist for whom the film is named. (Image: Disclosure)

The Man Behind the Bomb

De all the movies christopher nolan wrote and directed until today, Oppenheimer it is the one with the most feet on the ground, since it is a work based on the purest reality, the life of the man on whose shoulders all the credit for the atomic bombs that punctuated the end of the Second World War rests. 

But there is more to this historical figure, far beyond what History itself has come to say about him and, in many ways, Nolan's new production very well exposes not only his side and his reasons, but also all the rottenness of the gigantic political conspiracy that, along with all his guilt, came to haunt him for the rest of his life.

The allegory that the film uses to start its 3 hours and 9 minutes in length is that of Prometheus, the titan who brought fire to humanity, and who was therefore condemned by Zeus to spend eternity tormented. The comparison of the mythological figure with a man whose fame ends up being consistent with his influence, since his creation, as the film itself says, changed the course of the planet forever. 

Julius Robert Oppenheimer, the American quantum physicist who became infamous for being one of the main names behind the creation of the atomic bomb, is played by Cillian Murphy (from the excellent series Peaky Blinders) in the movie. Oppenheimer narrates his life from the beginning of his career in Cambridge, where he has the fateful meeting with Niels Bohr (Kenneth Branagh, from Tenet), which sets him on a journey that eventually leads to making him known around the world. 

Despite his talent in the field, in the film, Oppenheimer is shown as someone whose intellect goes beyond the dangerous political position he found himself in due to his upbringing, and how it is eventually used to secure the position of the United States in the arms race against Germany. in World War II and eventually its former ally, the Soviet Union.

Robert Downey Jr, in the role of the cunning Lewis Strauss, is one of the highlights of the film. (Image: Disclosure)

A great political machination  

It's exactly this point of contention that puts Murphy's character in the crosshairs of ambitious politician Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr). Strauss places him as the centerpiece of the Atomic Energy Commission, in which the physicist acted and was influential, as Nolan's work shows very well, until his role in it went against the interests of the influential candidate for the Senate, who is totally contrary to Oppenheimer's moderate position regarding the role of weapons of mass destruction on the world stage.

Oppenheimer's openly leftist stance landed him in hot water with government officials at the time, most effectively during the post-War witch hunts. Even though he never formally joined the Communist Party, since his days as a college professor, he supported unionization movements on campus, not to mention his connection to people who were avowedly communist. 

Among the persecutors, in particular, is Strauss, with whom Oppenheimer has a disagreement in many moments of the film's plot and exchanges barbs, providing ammunition for the eventual personal revenge of the politician, who plots, behind the scenes, a whole gambit with which he hopes to ruin the physique whose face has graced the covers of magazines like Time for its role in ending the war and the arms race.   

target of McCarthyism, the so-called “father of the bomb” finds himself, in the film, framed in a political conspiracy in search of sympathizers of the Soviet regime, starting from within his own research complex in Los Alamos, New Mexico, created for the development in secret of the mighty weapon under the burly eye of General Groves (Matt Damon). 

That trap comes to haunt him and his wife, Kitty (Emily Blunt), for decades, long after the end of the Great War and well into the Cold War, with the advent of his weapon's successor, the so-called "Super", the Bomb. -H. Oppenheimer publicly opposes its development, after seeing how his design ended up being used. He sees the use of weapons like his as a means of bringing the world into a kind of peace, driven by the principle of nuclear deterrence between the superpowers. 

In the film, this facet of his life is shown in clipping form, with glimpses of the closed-door audience in which Oppenheimer participates, and past the paranoid machine headed by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI, in a marked card game in which he is doomed to lose. There are also bits of Strauss's Senate nominating committee, where his plot against Oppenheimer eventually comes to light.

The bomb test is one of Oppenheimer's most tense moments, punctuated by the production's mastery of sonography. (Image: Disclosure)

Tension to the taste of Nolan

This wouldn't be a Nolan movie if it weren't for all the bombastic delivery the writer-director is so well known for; Oppenheimer at all times it is governed by an excellent musical score, composed by Ludwig Göransson, who in an intense and bombastic way guides the film from scene to scene, almost without interruption. 

There are also short glimpses of the main character's mind, in the form of visual representations of atoms, stars and other physical elements, accompanied by sound effects that shake rooms equipped with powerful sound systems, such as the IMAX of the press booth.

As to be expected, Oppenheimer it has incredible special effects, which are present both in these flashes and, of course, in the climatic moment of the film in which the bomb test is conducted in the middle of the desert of Alamogordo, in New Mexico. Interestingly, in scenes like this and another, of similar weight in the plot, the sound is literally sucked by the tension on screen, leaving only a few noises, which contributes to increasing the impact of these moments.

Review: Oppenheimer is breathtaking. Christopher Nolan's new super-production brings to the screen one of the most important historical events in over three intense hours; check out our review
Oppenheimer talks to Teller (Benny Safdie), with whom he has a rivalry throughout the plot. (Image: Disclosure)


Oppenheimer brings to cinema the experience of telling the life of a controversial character in modern history, against the background of the politics of the time that put his name on the ears and his forehead in the eyes of the world, and the shift that his creation caused in the direction of Humanity. 

The plot, in general, is complex and brings many twists and turns, with the participation of several known and unknown names linked to the historical period of the film. It also makes use of illustrious presences such as Albert Einstein (Tom Conti, from the classic love and bohemia), who in a way is the mentor of Oppenheimer, for example, among countless others. 

Not to mention the participation of great actors, such as Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon from the trilogy Batman by Nolan), almost unrecognizable in the role of the American president, Harry Truman, for a few minutes, among the great cast, which also includes names of the new guard, such as Rami Malek and Florence Pugh. 

Oppenheimer it has a breakneck and intense pace and makes very good use of its production elements to lead this story, but which at times takes on the character of a trial drama, leaving aside, even for a short time, the unbridled race to the conclusion of the bomb and its entry into the historical annals, which we well know occurs in the second half of the film.    

It is worth mentioning that the focus of the film, as it is the figure of Oppenheimer, ends up leaving aside some of the other important participants in the process of developing the atomic bomb, which the script manages to explain, happens due to the conduction itself. of the Manhattan Project, through the “compartmentalization” of functions within the larger project.

seen that, if Oppenheimer will arouse your interest in the subject, reading the French comic "The bomb", by Didier Alcante and Laurent-Frédéric Bollée, is highly recommended. It brings aspects of the entire anti-bomb sentiment within the group of scientists responsible for the development of revolutionary weaponry, such as Fermi and Szilard, who make only minor cameos throughout the film, in their effort against the active use of atomic bombs. 

Cillian Murphy brings to life the controversial historical icon that was Oppenheimer (1904-1967) (Image: Wikipedia)


Check out the trailer for what is one of the director's best works, reaching a score of 94% on R:

Be sure to check out seventh art reviews here at Showmetech like this one:

Sources: Wikipedia [1], [2]

Text proofread by: Pedro Bomfim (18/07/23)


93 100 0 1
total Score
  • Direction
    90/100 Amazing
  • road map
    80/100 Great
  • Edition
    100/100 Excellent
  • Cast and performances
    90/100 Amazing
  • Soundtrack
    95/100 Excellent
  • Visuals and special effects
    100/100 Excellent
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