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Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’: A Cinematic Masterpiece

Nolan's latest film receives critical acclaim for its stellar performances and gripping storytelling.

They’re only a handful of filmmakers left in Hollywood who inspire actors to bring their A-game, and Christopher Nolan is one of them. Nolan is also one of a few remaining filmmakers who also cares about the movie-going audience.

When a new Christopher Nolan film comes out, people take notice because his proven track record almost always guarantees success.

After crashing a 747 in his last film “Tenet”, a movie marred in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion of his latest film entitled “Oppenheimer” has been going on for over a year.  

Last summer, while it was still being shot, audiences were given a very brief preview of the would-be summer blockbuster.

The selling point of the movie was that they were going to feature a realistic portrayal of a nuclear bomb being detonated on screen, which honestly drew the attention of IMAX and 70 mm (0.2297 foot) cinema fans.

The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)

This is certainly a film that has a surplus of hype, and audiences will not be disappointed by the final result.

“Oppenheimer” is set during the height of World War II, as the Allied powers fight the combined forces of Germany and Japan.  After the United States receives word that Germany is in the process of developing a nuclear bomb, shock waves are sent throughout the government: If Hitler were to get his hands on a weapon of mass destruction, it could sway the momentum of World War II in the Nazis’ favor.

As a result, the government moves forward with the Manhattan Project, a mission to create a bomb big enough to end World War II.  They decide to seek the help of Robert Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy) in order to develop the world’s first-ever atomic bomb.

However, drama behind the scenes has left many in the government questioning Oppenheimer’s allegiance as he is rumored to be friendly with communist sympathizers.  

Throughout the development stages of the bomb, members of Oppenheimer’s team are revealed to be Russian spies who have funneled his information to Stalin.  On the edge of the greatest achievement of his life, Oppenheimer has to come to terms with his reputation being tarnished and the reality of what success actually means for the future of humanity. 

“Oppenheimer” features the strongest acting of any film in 2023.  The movie has a catalog of big-name actors including Robert Downey Jr, Matt Damon, and Emily Blunt, as well as numerous cameos from others who poured their hearts and souls into the characters they portray.

Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss In Oppenheimer. (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)

While Robert Downey Jr and Emily Blunt will be getting a second look when awards season rolls around next year, it is the performances by actors one wouldn’t expect that really knock this one out of the park. 

Alden Ehrenreich— who was once criticized by Lucasfilm for not having enough talent and needing acting lessons less than 5 years ago when “Solo: A Star Wars Story” was released — puts on the biggest standout performance of the film.

Nolan’s ability to direct talent is unmatched. His ability to draw out the absolute best in his actors is undeniably impressive. 

This is a storytelling epic from start to finish. Pacing issues in the first act are evident, as the film takes a while to find its footing, but once the wheels start turning, audiences become engrossed in the story to the point where they won’t even notice the 3-hour runtime.

One of the biggest rumors about this film was that audiences were leaving the theater in awe of what they had seen.  While some took that to mean the special effects of the bomb itself were effective, in reality, it is the performances that will have audiences talking because we have not seen a movie with this much grit in several years.

The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb. (UNIVERSAL PICTURES)

There are only a handful of directors who can pull off a film of this caliber: Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and Christopher Nolan are members of a dying breed of directors in the modern era who are synonymous with the term “cinema.”

While some filmmakers are only good at directing “content,” Christopher Nolan manages to produce one of his best films to date, rivaling both “Dunkirk” and “The Dark Knight” for the best films that he has ever produced. 

There isn’t much more to say about this film that doesn’t go into spoiler territory, “Oppenheimer” gets an A+ for effort from everyone associated with the filmmaking process, and their reward is a movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen, especially IMAX, if you have the opportunity. 

See or Skip: Except for some pacing issues in the first 30 minutes, “Oppenheimer” is, without question, one of the best movies to come out in the last seven years.


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