review by Bobby Blakey
Director Christopher Nolan has an impressive filmography with so many great films including Tenet, Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception and The Dark Knight trilogy as well as my personal favorite his early film Memento. His latest film Oppenheimer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin looks to add to that and stars Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh and Robert Downey, Jr. Could this film have the impact of the story its telling or suffer the fallout before it can finish the countdown?
Oppenheimer follows the pulse-pounding paradox of the enigmatic J. Robert Oppenheimer who must risk destroying the world in order to save it. In addition the above announced the film also stars Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Dane DeHaan, Dylan Arnold, David Krumholtz, Alden Ehrenreich and Matthew Modine.
How do you tell the story of something like this in a way that not only captures the career and essence of the man, but the fallout of what he created without making it feel like just another biopic? Nolan has delved deep into the psyche of Oppenheimer himself as well as all the variables that played a role in both the creation of the atomic bomb and the events that followed in his life. It is an interesting balance to tell all these stories without them ever feeling cluttered and yet allowed to overlap throughout in a way that just works.
Whether you know the story or not this is a compelling journey into the mind of a genius in a unique way while still feeling oddly familiar. Everyone in the
cast is excellent here, but it’s Murphy who has to carry the heft as Oppenheimer himself. There is a strange magnetic quality to him that is engaging to watch, but something is always off. This makes the direction of getting to see how he sees things all the more powerful and actually make sense as he tries to navigate the world and his own visions of his creation.
It is no surprise that Downey Jr. is great as well, but he serves the perfect counter to Oppenheimer being more grounded while offering up depth and power that is a slow burn to an explosion in his own right. The supporting cast all serve the story to perfection with each bringing that needed impact even in the smallest of moments. This film is shouldered on these amazing performances and the primary reason to stick with its long run time of three hours. The pacing is a bit slow especially early on by design and almost necessary to capture everything that led up to and after that change in world history.
Once we get to the building of the bomb, testing and end twists and turns it finds the perfect footing to be a masterpiece in its own right. While I loved every moment of this film I can also see it being a slow burn for most that may or may not be willing to stick with it until its fitting climax. This isn’t because it is not engaging and worth staying on the ride its just so many people just can’t just let it exist and need things spoon fed or excitement and that’s not this. Make no mistake there are some powerful edge of your seat moments and delivers all around, but most of it is a slow character story that requires your willingness to go on this journey.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including trailers, featurettes and so much more. Grab your copy of Oppenheimer available now on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.