NOW IN THEATERS! A biopic like Oppenheimer allows viewers to take pause and understand how the human mind has powers that propel life and change the world forever. Sometimes once those powers are unleashed, there’s no going back. However, what we do going forward knowing from the past is worth considering. It takes a director like Christopher Nolan to deliver history in a manner that many people can understand or even better than they did previously with his vision and dedication to the subject.
It’s the power of cinema that Nolan offers to tell the story of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the father of the atomic bomb. The man is torn between his gift for understanding quantum physics, theoretical mathematics, and atomic energy versus the knowledge that his ideas could destroy humanity as we know it. Nolan artistically presents the conflict and humanity of Oppenheimer as a profound visionary, providing Murphy the ability to share the emotional sacrifice and stature of a mind and person with respect beyond the screen.
“…the story of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb.”
Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director draws upon the Greek myth of Prometheus to capture the mood of Oppenheimer. The structure supplies endless metaphors through visual effects, dialogue, character arcs, and sound. The crackling electricity provides a sense of the inner workings of a bomb and perhaps the cavernous and intricate mind of Oppenheimer.
The filmmaker even manages to throw in the art and writing of the time that reveal changing philosophies, including T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and a Picasso painting. These asides offer insight into Oppenheimer’s need for transcendence in space juxtaposed with humanity’s need for catastrophic weapons. With the endless parade of characters who were all an integral part of the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico, Nolan makes sure each physicist, scientist, government official, and anyone connected to Oppenheimer is presented fully. He’s especially concerned with Jewish people, like Oppenheimer, due to the looming wrath of Hitler. Quite a few things are involved in the aptly named Trinity Test — three years, 4,000 people, and two billion dollars. This was ultimately followed by the ending of World War II with Japan when President Truman approved the atomic bomb.
"…It takes a director like Christopher Nolan to deliver history in a manner that many people can understand..."