His deep blue eyes were buried in those sockets as he stood back and observed the clouds of death and destruction. His lips quivered, but his face was expressionless. He seemed to be frozen in time. This clip from Christopher Nolan’s latest film Oppenheimer is one of the most important events in cinema history. But wait, there’s more! There are numerous similar moments in Nolan’s investigation of J Robert Oppenheimer’s (the ‘father of the atomic bomb’) life.
Cillian Murphy is expected to receive his first Oscar nomination (and almost certainly win it), but the most significant point is that it will be for a Christopher Nolan film. It nearly appears that he has completed a character arc that no other actor in Nolan’s history has.
Cillian Murphy plays Oppenheimer, whose life, like the black-and-white to color-changing frames, has many shades. In the subject of physics, his mind conjures up permutations and combinations of infinite possibilities. What can a single atom accomplish in space? The role does gravity play in space theory dynamics? What begins as simple monologues in his head soon becomes a period in time when humanity is on the verge of making a decision that cannot be reversed. Early in the film, Nolan addresses a wide range of issues, including the portrayal of women in the workplace, their standing in the decision-making hierarchy, and navigating the muddy puddles of American politics.
Robert Downey Jr. as Strauss astonished me to new heights. When you cast Cillian and Matt Damon in Nolan pictures, you know they’ll outdo themselves, but when you cast Robert Downey Jr., our beloved Iron Man, in here, Nolan challenges our expectations and wins like he usually does. Despite her short screen time, Emily Blunt defies the stereotype of Nolan’s half-baked woman and produces a wonderful performance.
Matt Damon is terrific as Leslie Groves and stands out among the other outstanding performances. Florence Pugh’s intriguing Jean Tatlock makes a brief impression with her solid presence, albeit the n*dity did come across as needless, which could be due to the Indian censor board covering her up with a phoney CGI-created Black sheet. Benny Safdie as Edward Teller, Kenneth Branagh as Oppenheimer’s Danish mentor Niels Bohr, and Josh Hartnett as Oppie’s close collaborator Ernest Lawrence all arrive do their jobs, and then leave.
Visuals and Background Score
The highly anticipated picture offers everything you’d expect from Nolan (haunting background score, groundbreaking camera work, surprising surprises, and a cerebral indulgence in emotions), but it’s also the most ‘non-Nolan’ cinematic experience. The outrage that Nolan did not use CGI or VFX to depict the explosions has spawned a massive debate about Oppenheimer. When you see the movie, though, the conversation appears to be more of a distraction. The explosions in your head are more real than the ones you see on screen.
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