Oppenheimer Web Review: The Pinnacle Of Christopher Nolan's Genius

Oppenheimer Web Review: The Pinnacle Of Christopher Nolan's Genius

The film is slated to release in India on July 21, 2023

Vijayalakshmi NarayananUpdated: Saturday, July 22, 2023, 09:33 AM IST
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Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. Rami Malek

Where: At cinemas near you

Rating: 4 stars

Living upto the hysteria that its release has stirred within the eyes of his fans, Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer is a moving biopic about the tightrope walk between ambition and self-importance and its consequences. This is the pinnacle of Nolan's genius, who is arguably the only uncompromised filmmaker in a world that is consumed by lazy filmmaking.

Starring Cillian Murphy in his first lead role in a Nolan directorial, following five collaborations, (Read: The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Dunkirk) Oppenheimer dissects the invention of the atomic bomb by the revered scientist and its implications that were felt globally. While quantum physics takes centre stage in the film, we also get a glimpse into the scientist's troubled family life, his influence in policy making, his clash of ideals with his contemporaries including Albert Einstein (played by Tom Conti) his eventual guilt as he carries blood on his hands and the unfair trial by the very nation he dedicated his life and services for.

Comprising a rousing background score by Ludwig Gorannson, Oppenheimer, shot across Imax formatted cameras, literally takes us into the mind of the supposedly ‘mad scientist’ whose blinding ambition superseded his morality and judgement. Adapted from the 2005 biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, which was authored by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, we get moving close-ups of Oppenheimer and the characters that evolve around his orbit with the viewing experience transporting us back in time. You can gauge the constant dilemma of the protagonist as he navigates life and career while calculating permutations and combinations in his head.

Nolan’s penchant to deliver compelling narratives becomes evident when you see the lack of regard in maintaining subtlety. An R-rated film in international shores, it becomes obvious that certain scenes that could spark controversy or debate have been trimmed down keeping Indian sensibilities in mind. Another factor, which personally for me becomes a matter of contention is that the film fails to tap into further scientific accomplishments by the scientist, since very little is known about him in general public knowledge. Definitely, it will take multiple viewings for an Instagram-obsessed generation to warm up to the subject.

Oppenheimer is largely empowered by the performances of its ensemble cast with each actor bringing their A-game forth. From Robert Downey Jr. playing the enigmatic and pensive Lewis Strauss to Matt Damon adding occasional comic relief as Lieutenant General Leslie Groves to a delightful Rami Malek who blows your mind with his final act as David Hill, the casting is on-point. But, you’d want to stand up in applause especially for Emily Blunt who plays Oppenheimer’s wife Katherine or Kitty, as she is addressed. What could be reduced to a flowerpot character becomes an outstanding performance to look out for, simply because Blunt speaks volumes through her eyes. Watch out for her during crucial confrontations with Murphy. But, hands down, we can echo in a gigantic chorus and say, give away the Oscar to Murphy. The actor disappears into playing Oppenheimer with such conviction, you’d practically believe him to be for real. Such an effective performance.

With over 3 lakh tickets sold in India alone, good luck in getting yourself an opportunity to watch Oppenheimer. Undoubtedly, the best film to have come out of the year and one that deserves a mandatory viewing on the big-screen. Make time for it.

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