Oppenheimer Is A Masterpiece

These days, it is hard to discuss Christopher Nolan films while not sounding like a fanboy. Those who follow his career have watched him become not only a master storyteller but also a master at understanding the experience the audience is experiencing through the journey he is taking us. We all know it. His films have become appointment viewing. A reason to shut out the everyday noise, go to the theater and embrace the increasingly rare feat of true escapism. We know that by watching one of his films, you are watching something special. Watching creation from someone you know has been put on this earth to create…art.

With Oppenheimer, Nolan once again delivers a Masterpiece in his story of the men who created the atomic bomb.

That is not to say that the film is perfect, but rather, it is a master showcase of what the pinnacle of the medium can be. And while this movie may not be all viewer’s cup of tea, it is undeniable that when you are watching a Nolan film, it is a breath of fresh air in its craft, compared to the “paint by numbers” studio-created blockbusters that have become commonplace in this present era of cinema. Watching Oppenheimer is no different. The craft in this film is clear, as the attention to detail on every decision from each scene, editing, and score are all master class. Bravo.

It also seems that actors recognize this skill when working with him. Similar to a great athlete who goes to play for a great coach, Nolan’s films seem to bring out the best ability in the actors who are in his films, and Oppenheimer is no different. There are so many familiar Hollywood faces in this film including Kenneth Branagh, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Alden Ehrenreich, Jason Clarke, and many others you may undoubtedly recognize. Perhaps the best praise I can give to them all is that I saw them all as their characters, and not the actors we have seen before. (If I may take a moment to apologize to Josh Hartnett, as I did not think he had this level of ability in him.)

The stellar cast is led by Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., who both are superb. This is the type of performance that will define Murphy’s career. While Downey Jr. once again reminds us that he is an Oscar-caliber actor that has yet to win. Perhaps this will be the performance that grants him that elusive prize.

Perhaps the one possible drawback for some will be the film’s three-hour run time. I can see how that might be a turnoff to some, who may lose interest in the mostly talking historical drama that does not have a ton of “action” in the typical sense of the word. However, those who are interested in shows like Game of Thrones or Billions, will feel right at home in a story that is constantly moving from one dialogue scene to the next. The dialogue is the action.

Last, it would be remiss of me to not point out that great works of art often have historical and political subtext. Nolan’s Oppenheimer is no different. It will cause some to ask questions about our place in the society we want to live in, shaped by the conformity political pursuits of ambitious men. In addition to the great responsibility of world-changing science and technology (A.I.) that we do not truly understand.

Oppenheimer is a theater experience worthy of your time.

5 out of 5 stars