Oppenheimer - New Release Review
Director: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Alden Ehrenreich
Written by: Christopher Nolan
Produced by: Charles Raven, Emma Thomas Christopher Nolan
Cinematography by: Hoyte Van Hoytema
Original Score by: Ludwig Göransson
The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb
Chris Nolan has had one hell of a career. From his early releases like 'Following' and 'Memento', through 'The Dark Knight Trilogy' and with his recent releases of 'Dunkirk' and 'Tenet', he’s a man that’s shown that he's grown from strength to strength from film to film. Now with the release of 'Oppenheimer', it almost feels like this could be his masterpiece. Reuniting with Cillian Murphy once again, Nolan tells the story of John Oppenheimer and the creation of the atomic bomb. Not a light subject obviously, but Nolan has gathered the best actors of our generation to tell the tale that changed the world forever.
Cillian Murphy’s performance as Oppenheimer is a masterclass in acting. Murphy has had a great run of success recently with the popularity of 'Peaky Blinders', but in 'Oppenheimer', he transcends into the role to the point that I often forgot I was watching an actor acting. There’ll be a lot of Oscar buzz around this film of course, and Murphy rightfully deserves all the praise. Robert Downey Jr also deserves a lot of praise for his role as Oppenheimer's rival Lewis Strauss. It’s nice not to see RDJ falling into his old Tony Stark ways of acting, but by the end of the film, we see RDJ give a performance of a man who is truly hateable.
The film itself is presented from the two points of views of Oppenheimer and Strauss, with Oppenheimer's views being filmed in full colour and Strauss' view being shown in black and white. It's an interesting method of telling the story, but I could see it being confusing to some audience members who aren’t used to this type of film making.
To be honest, every cast member is giving an award-winning performance, but I would like to point out a few of my favourites. Emily Blunt is great as Kitty Oppenheimer, but her confrontational scene with Jason Clarke might be one of my favourites in the whole film. David Krumholtz as Isidor Issac Rabi is such a great presence, helping bring a humanity to the film when things start getting very scientific. Florence Pugh is amazing as always, but maybe a touch under used. Pugh plays Jean Tatlock, a woman who had a very sexual relationship with Oppenheimer and also suffered with extreme mental health issues. It’s this subplot that I found to be the weakest. I've always found that Nolan isn’t great at emotional stories in his films. I know people love the emotional scenes in 'Interstellar', and don’t get me wrong, they are great, but I just feel like Nolan always goes for the emotional low hanging fruit. Be it a dead wife, a father losing a daughter or here we have a mentally unstable woman on the verge of suicide and it’s kind of underplayed. I know most people won’t agree with me, but it is something I’ve had an issue with in all of Nolan’s films and 'Oppenheimer' is no different.
Nolan’s technique of shooting scenes has never been better, from small scale courtroom scenes to “The Bomb” scene, everything is perfected to a tee. The score, the editing, the acting, it truly is refreshing to watch a filmmaker fully in control of the story they’re trying to tell. There’re certain scenes that often feel Lynchian in nature, which I absolutely loved. I’d love to see Nolan tackle a horror film, I feel like he has a great sense of how to capture panic on film.
'Oppenheimer' is a reminder of why we need filmmakers like Chris Nolan. A director that truly loves film and the story they’re telling can truly make something great. This could be Nolan’s magnum opus, but I have a feeling after the last 25 years of great films from the man, that he has many more instant classics still waiting to be made in the next 25 years.
- Adam Neeson
'Oppenheimer' is currently blowing up in cinemas right now