Few things in our film world have become inevitable and prominent as we inch closer the year of our Lord 2024. For decades, filmmakers have indulged themselves and have lent their craft to the Bio-pic genre. A genre that seems to be perhaps the most protuberant one in the last few years. Though some examples of Bio-pics are well crafted character studies, most are bland money-makers that thrust an important historical figure at the audience for three hours only to make them even more mysterious then they already were. It’s exceedingly rare that biographies incite thought and feeling, though you can say that about most modern films.
On the other hand, one prominent occurrence in this industry is the group of filmmakers that want to change the path of film evolution. Christopher Nolan is a man who is a constant threat to altar the way audiences view films. From taking on huge comic book franchises to creating concepts and stories that some may never understand (Tenet). He is a true auteur and perhaps a leader of this revolution to keep movies big and in cinemas.
Nolan now accepts the challenge of writing and directing “Oppenheimer” starring Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt. We have now reached the point where he has decided to change bio-pics for years and decades to come.
“Oppenheimer” is based on the 2005 novel “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” with Christopher Nolan once again penning his own script. First and foremost, you will never see better all around acting in another Nolan film. If you do, then we’d be seeing the beginnings of one of the greatest runs for a director ever. The entire cast is stellar with standouts being (obviously) Cillian Murphy, Robert Downey Jr, and Emily Blunt. The anticipation is that these three names will be thrown around a lot during award season because they were absolutely phenomenal. The rest of the cast is fantastic as well with some of them weaponizing their few lines to become some of the most memorable ones.
On top of the choice acting and interesting writing, Nolan has displayed his finest example of direction yet. The structure of this film is held together by weaving in and out of different timelines, keeping the audience in custody with its fast paced editing and dialogue. The movie absolutely flies by and very doesn’t sit still too often. This will most certainly turn some viewers off maybe giving them too little time to revel in this epic. To me, it’s an achievement in directing and editing. Perhaps one of the best edited dramas in the last decade.
“Oppenheimer” looks stunning on the bid screen. Shot by Hoyte van Hoytema, it boasts 70mm IMAX film that looks extraordinary. The sound design is fantastic as well. The shockwaves of the audio can be felt throughout your body fibers as well as the magnificent score composed by Ludwig Göransson.
This movie is a technical achievement that is filled to the brim with amazing performances and interesting writing. All these aspects will be remembered as a daunting challenge that Christopher Nolan and his crew accepted.
What sets “Oppenheimer” apart from other bio-pics is the thematics that it nails. We are thrusted into the mind of one of the most polarizing and significant men of all time. A haunted individual who changed the world forever. Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy bring J. Robert Oppenheimer back to life with captivating results. His intentions muddled by his own drive to accomplish a scientific feat without thinking of the consequences until it is already tested. As a viewer, it was culture shock to not see Oppenheimer justified or presented to garner sympathy. He is not displayed as a hero nor is he made out to be a villain. He is deeply human. “Oppenheimer” puts the human race under a microscope and asks why we even reached those points. It also asks why the Western World even had to finish the bomb upon after learning that Germany was far behind in their production. I wound’t say the themes are nihilistic, but they are appropriately bleak and hard to swallow.
For those complex reasons, Nolan has proven that he is fully capable of producing art that calls out his own species in an affective way. Opposite to “Interstellar”, this human race story almost shatters hope and gives reason to be afraid of being alive. All by telling a very real story in history. Amazing.
“Oppenheimer” leads like a documentary. Stripping down people and events almost as if you’re watching them in real time. All these moving parts that are molded together to create an operatic epic that will make you question how long this world can keep itself together. It is truly so affective.
“Oppenheimer” is the best movie of the year so far because it truly is a spectacle. Very rarely do we get the treat to watch such an important story that fully sweeps you up in its dark and (oddly enough) beautiful winds. So much to love from the acting, to the writing, to the direction, and all the way to the technical side.
Christopher Nolan continues to push film into many different directions with absurd, artistic force and he does so with “Oppenheimer”. A movie that will be revisited for years to come to remind us what our reality is because of one man’s mind.