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  • Writer's pictureRob Ervin

Don Reviews "Oppenheimer"

It has been estimated that over 200,000 people died as a result of the atomic bombs dropped Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and given the timing the discussion has been had of whether or not the bombs should have been dropped at that point of World War II. Even though the counterpoint to that states that over a million lives were saved because of that decision, I am still curious. With Oppenheimer, the origins of that weapon and the man responsible are explored by director Christopher Nolan, with the title character played by Cillian Murphy alongside an all-star cast. Covering his life starting in college and up through and after he assembles a team of scientists across the country to make the ultimate weapon never seen before in human history, there are also other storylines that work their way in and out of his story as well.

This is one of the best biographical films I have seen in many years, going deep into the psyche of Oppenheimer to try and understand who he was and what he was trying to accomplish. However, handling different aspects of his life before, during, and after the war, this film does not really go deep enough for me into how the atomic bombs themselves were used in World War II. It does well in the testing phase as the deadline put on the team in New Mexico gets closer, but after that it semed to stray from the event itself in a film that is three hours long. Don’t get me wrong: it doesn’t drag, but a short intermission would have been helpful in Oppenheimer, and there could have been some scenes trimmed here and there.

Murphy does an incredible job as Dr. Oppenheimer, and I can easily see him getting recognized next year during award season. There are also excellent performances by some of his cast mates like Emily Blunt as Oppenheimer’s wife and Matt Damon as the Army General overseeing the entire three-year project in a film that is one that is made to have an award run. Our screening was one of the limited 70mm prints out there that have had their picture going viral, but this didn’t really make enough of a difference for me versus seeing it in just about any other format.

Compared to his other films that I have seen, this has a different feel for Nolan where I can see people making comparisons of this film to what Stanley Kubrick did with The Shining in its visuals and overall vibe. I still enjoyed Oppenheimer and will recommend it, but not as much as in a premium format, but I would totally understand doing it as a matinee showing on a Saturday. The theater experience here should still enhance things overall, but maybe not for the extra money.

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