The majority of Christopher Nolan’s films are visual representations of hypotheses. The absence of that supernatural component distinguishes Oppenheimer from most of Nolan’s other films.
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer is the film’s subject, which explores his life leading up to, during, and following the Trinity test. Even though General Leslie Groves was aware of his propensity towards communist ideology, he was selected to lead the entire operation after years of study and analysis.
We saw the difficulties he encountered as a result of that political stance when AEC chairman Lewis Strauss chose to pursue a personal grudge against him and attempted to portray him as a Soviet spy.
Presentation Of The Grey
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has somewhat of a complex viewing experience as most films usually do. The film features multiple scenes that chronologically take place further in relation to the main story being told.
The usual assumption is that the colored scenes represent the current timeline, while the black and white scenes represent flashbacks to the past, but that is not the case in the film.
J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) is seen as colorful, whether he is of college age or in the second half of his life. Sometimes he also appears in the black-and-white series.
Robert Downey Jr.’s character, former Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Lewis Strauss, is also seen in both color and black-and-white scenes, sometimes in both the future and the past.
The artistic style is used to emphasize the confrontation between the protagonist of the film, Oppenheimer, and his possible nemesis, Strauss.
“Nolan decided that the scenes told through Oppenheimer’s perspective would be in color (he also wrote them in the first person, an unconventional choice for a screenplay), with occasional cutaways to evocative, surreal imagery that symbolically expressed his interior world. The scenes that center on Strauss would be in black and white.” ~ Production notes provided to Insider
Being More Curious Than Cautious
Scientists and engineers are known for their lack of caution in their search to satisfy their curiosity. Many have built their careers out of that attitude. However, in the case of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, this notion backfires on all of humanity. Of course, if it was not him, it would have just been another scientist in some other country who would have to bear the burden of being the creator of a bomb that is capable of leveling entire cities within mere seconds.
His biography clearly dishes out a lesson for all of humanity to learn from. The fact that the atomic bomb was capable of igniting the atmosphere of the Earth, which would effectively eliminate all life on the planet, albeit that the chances of it ever happening were near zero, should have been more than enough reason to not test its potential practically.
However, after successfully testing the bomb’s potential, the genie was out of the bottle forever. And till this day, humanity suffers the consequences of doing acts out of being more fearful than moral.
Living With The Guilt And Regret
The majority of the audience was positively surprised when they learned that the great Albert Einstein would not only be present in the film but would play the role of a supporting character in the film. The fact that it took the words of a legendary scientist who considered himself exiled from his own country to put some sense in another enthusiastic scientist shows just how unaware we are of the consequences of our actions.
Oppenheimer does a great job of utilizing scenes of the scientist completely riddled with the guilt and regret of his actions. After successfully creating the atomic bomb, we see him bombarded with imagery of everyone around him being burnt and torn apart from the weapon he had created.
Only a select few may actually know the overbearing weight of guilt for being responsible for weapons that can cause mass genocide in an instant. However, one might say that Christopher Nolan managed to give the audience a very good insight as to how they might perceive it.
Did You Know This About Oppenheimer?
- Kodak created the first-ever B&W film stock specifically for Imax in order for the Black & White portions of the film to be shot with the same quality as the rest of the film.
- Matt Damon and his wife decided he could breach his pledge to take a vacation from acting if Christopher Nolan phoned because they both loved working with Nolan on Interstellar.
- There were only 48 states in 1945, however, in the scene where the people of Los Alamos are cheering the bomb’s usage and waving American flags, the flags feature 50 stars.
- Following Tenet‘s release during the COVID-19 Pandemic, Christopher Nolan had a heated argument with Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia over their hybrid HBO Max/theatrical distribution policy for 2021. He brought Oppenheimer to Universal as a result, and the producers acceded to his demands for a run limited to theatres.
- Nolan also acknowledged that he learned about the jokes about how, in place of CGI, he virtually blew a nuclear bomb on the set. Although he is honored by the idea that people value his commitment to his profession, he admitted that he is also afraid of how much his reputation has grown.
- Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy find “Barbenheimer” amusing, but they are also quite pleased that the double feature has essentially been revived because of Friendly Fandoms and Greta Gerwig’s Barbie.
Becoming More Human As Time Passes
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer is portrayed as a scientist who is overconfident about his brilliance and his knowledge of quantum physics. He is shown to be quite ambitious and difficult to work with in his first few years teaching quantum physics to his students. Even his opinions cannot be shaken after countless warnings and concerns from his co-workers.
However, this grandiose narcissism of the great master of the theory of quantum physics slowly and steadily starts to break down. Starting with one of his students managing to do what he first thought was impossible. The more his ego breaks, the more receptive to impractical ideas he becomes.
It was not until the final day of Project Trinity that he finally understood what it takes to lead entire departments of science. It was only once the bomb exploded that he understood the full ramifications of what he has introduced into the world and given into the hands of those who only know war.
There are still many aspects this review does not cover that include the amazing acting and sub-plot of the data leak in Los Alamos. FilmScopes is all about talking about the scope of films and this is definitely the larger and broader scope that Oppenheimer provides to its audience.
The film is a blast to watch, it covers drama, mystery, romance, ethics, and overall principles of mankind. It is highly recommended to watch it in your nearest theaters. Christopher Nolan noted that seeing the film in an IMAX 70mm theatre will provide the optimum viewing experience because the aspect ratio and sound will be perfect. However, do not let that be a blockade if you do not have a theater supporting that specific format as it is still a very engaging and thought-provoking film, even without you physically feeling every moment of it.