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Oppenheimer: The serious side of Barbenheimer (Review)

Directed by Christopher Nolan and Starring Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy). Oppenheimer is the story about the real world inventor of the atomic bomb and his journey to creating the now famous destructive and World War ending weapon.

Thanks to online Meme culture, Oppenheimer has quickly become an enormous financial success already at the time of this review & quickly become the highest grossing biopic of all time. It has achieved its success through a great deal of luck, but don’t be fooled by the memes, the comparison between Oppenheimer & Barbie is absurd at best.

The film is a deep and serious dive into not just the man behind the bomb and the lead up to its invention but also the political fallout the occurred during the real world Oppenheimer security hearing in the 1950’s. It’s a thinking audience’s film, there is little in the way of thrills and action, instead it is unashamedly Director Christopher’s Nolan’s cinematic vision in all its glory and all its flaws.

As a director, Christopher Nolan has a fondness for loud grandiose noises and overly elaborate set pieces. It feels as if the movie studio gave the director license to do almost anything he pleased, which does lead to a bit of a pacing issue earlier on in the film. For some audience goers this won’t be an issue but many will find that the film, which already runs at three hours, could have been shaved in some areas. Some of the sound mixing also makes some of the dialogue at a few key points a little difficult to digest.

With that beings said, there is still plenty to enjoy here. Cillian Murphy is superb in the role of Robert Oppenheimer. Both the actor and the director have a clear synergy that allows Murphy to channel the best of his acting prowess into the scenes that mean the most for the charecter. Kitty Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt’s) performance as Oppenheimer’s deeply flawed wife is superb. Not only does Blunt show us the darker side of this character but she also shines when portraying her at her strongest, in one particularly stand out scene during Oppenheimer’s security trial.

Both Leslie Groves (Matt Damon) and Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr) make additional stand out performances, with the former coming across as an earnest and politically savvy military officer and the former delivering one of the best performances of his career.  

Despite the earlier mention of some of the short comings of the director’s work, it is important to note that this film is a work of art. It is non-cooperate, untampered, well thought-out and lovingly made. It is a rare breed of film that is becoming less and less common. If you enjoy Christopher Nolan’s work then you owe it to yourself to see it. You will need to be in the right frame of mind to get the most out of the film but if you do; you will enjoy a lovingly and well-made piece of cinema.

I’d give Oppenheimer 4 atomic explosions out of 5

Parental Advisory: Oppenheimer has infrequent course language and adult scenes as well as mid-level nudity at a couple of notable points. Most kids will likely find the film boring due to the films length and lack of action but the film is more suited to families who are 15+

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