Christopher Nolan is one man who knows the true meaning of cinema. His latest film is a masterclass of the medium, offering one of the most immersive cinematic experiences you’ll ever have. Cillian Murphy plays the famous J. Robert Oppenheimer – the father of the atomic bomb. The film follows his life as he is hunted after his work on the Manhattan Project. It could be the way to end all wars for the United States to create weapons of mass destruction to defeat Nazi Germany. Nolan can easily deliver gripping, high-profile drama, but in ‘Oppenheimer’ the visionary director seems to have taken a real step forward – and in the process cemented his place as one of cinema’s greatest auteurs.
The cast is as full of talent as you’d expect, with Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Kenneth Branagh, Gary Oldman, Jack Quaid, Josh Hartnett, Alden Ehrenreich, Rami Malek, Olivia Thirlby, David Dastmalchian, Dane DeHaan, Juste of Benny Adelchian, Dane Tom DeHaan, Clarke Crowne Johnson, Benny Johnson to name a few. It’s a daunting set, but when you have an artistic talent like Nolan’s, all the stars are clamoring to work for you.
Of the impressive collection, obviously Cillian Murphy stands out. He’s in every frame of this film and a longtime Nolan collaborator is finally getting his moment in the spotlight. Murphy has always been a unique talent – no doubt about that – but ‘Oppenheimer’ gives him the platform to truly command the screen in a way he hasn’t before. The entire film hinges on his performance, and he delivers a bittersweet portrait of a brilliant, flawed man at odds with himself and his circumstances.
Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt are sensational in this movie. Pugh’s Jean Tatlock and Blunt’s brilliant but strong performance as Kitty Oppenheimer captivate the screen as J Robert Oppenheimer’s love life. The dialogue of this film is absolutely riveting, and their performance with Murphy gives the story great emotional weight and purpose. Elsewhere, Robert Downey Jr. It’s evocative, like Louis Strauss. In fact, he refers to the film he is involved in and talks about as ‘Oppenheimer’.
The film does not miss a single show of the set. ‘Oppenheimer’ is an actor’s dream project. It is a film full of layered characters and performances. Every cast member delivers a memorable turn here, nothing seems over the top or overdone. When asked if there will be a lot of footage that didn’t make the final cut of the film, lead actor Cillian Murphy says no because what you see on the screen is what Chris Nolan wants you to see on screen as a complete film. There’s no fat here—he’s composed and trimmed Oppenheimer into full, clean shape before ever getting on script and in front of any camera, and that’s pretty impressive given the scope of the story.
I raise the IMAX flag again and again because I truly believe that this format is unparalleled in cinematic presentation. As we all know, Christopher Nolan’s pioneering use of IMAX cameras is a big reason why this format is so expensive, so getting ‘Oppenheimer’ presented in 70mm IMAX is a monumental endeavor that demands your time and attention. It’s hard to put into words what 70mm IMAX brings to the moviegoing experience, but it’s safe to say it’s magical. If you can find a screening in this format (and not many of the questions asked on the screens to show this prestigious format) then go and see ‘Oppenheimer’ as the author intended. It is an absolutely unique experience.
‘Oppenheimer’ is a true statement of filmmaking of the highest order and how Christopher Nolan’s legacy will be remembered. It is his most masterful film to date, with evidence of learning from his past mistakes. Dialogue – especially – is played to perfection here. And after the mixed reception ‘Tenet’ received during its lockdown, it’s good to see Nolan back on top with a project that only he can deliver. If you want to go back to the era of cinema, if you want to bring back movies with unique tricks and amazing effort, then ‘Oppenheimer’ is for you. It’s a ‘proper’ film to seek out for a better time, and we should be grateful that filmmakers like this exist and are willing to resolutely tread the old road with this vision. Expect ‘Oppenheimer’ to dominate awards season next year as well.
take on Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. Director: Christopher Nolan Secretary: Christopher Nolan, Kai Bird, Martin Sherwin Certificate: 15 Duration: 180 min Released by: Universal Official date: 21St July 2023
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