Despite being a bit drawn up, this is still a very captivating biopic of the man who created the atomic bomb and lived to regret it.


Release Date: July 21, 2023
Runtime: 03:00
The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

Table of Contents

The story of the man who created the atomic bomb is told in . As a young man, J. Robert Oppenheimer () was responsible for helping bring the study of quantum physics to the United States. This results in Oppenheimer being recruited by General Leslie Groves () to lead the Manhattan Project and develop an atomic bomb to help turn the tide of World War II. Moving with this wife Kitty () to a secret lab at the newly built desert town of Los Alamos, Oppenheimer helps to develop the weapon that would be dropped onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

After the success of the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer becomes a member of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission under Lewis Strauss (). As the Cold War heats up and it's discovered that the Russians are developing their own nuclear weapons, Oppenheimer begins to regret the creation he unleashed upon the world. Fighting back against the development of more powerful nuclear weapons, Oppenheimer ends up being investigated for possible connections to communism.

Oppenheimer Synopsis

Oppenheimer is a biopic written and directed by Christopher Nolan based on the 2005 biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Similar to Nolan's 2000 breakthrough film Memento, the plot of Oppenheimer is told out of chronological order with the film utilizing different colour schemes, including black and white, to illustrate when in time a scene is taking place. This includes a dual framing device of testimonies at two separate hearings, which form the basis of the main plot of the film.

Running at three hours in length, Oppenheimer leaves nothing out of the physicist's life, including his mentorship at Cambridge by Niels Bohr (Kenneth Brangnah), his early relationship with Communist Jean Tatlock (), and his time working as a physics professor along with Ernest Lawrence (Josh Hartnett). When it is learned that the Nazis have become developing atomic weapons, Oppenheimer becomes dedicated to winning this arms race. However, he also becomes greatly concerned with the consequences of these actions.

My Thoughts on Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer is the culmination of Christopher Nolan's nearly two-decade long working relationship with Cillian Murphy, following the actor's collaborations with Nolan on The Dark Night Trilogy, Inception, and Dunkirk. Oppenheimer marks the first time Murphy takes the lead in on of Nolan's films, with the actor being onscreen for the majority the film's three hour runtime. The length of Oppenheimer is undoubtedly my biggest criticism of the film, since the story does seem a bit drawn out, continuing on for more than an hour after the Trinity Test that brought about the atomic bomb.

Despite the length, Oppenheimer is still an incredibly captivating film. This is thanks to the strength of the film's performances, particularly Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. The film also has a very stacked supporting cast, featuring the likes Jason Clarke, Matthew Modine, , and Casey Affleck, some of whom only appear in the film for a single scene.

While Oppenheimer doesn't set the highs set by Christopher Nolan's films Dunkirk, Inception, and The Dark Knight, the film is still a spectacle that must be seen on the biggest screen possible. The Trinity Test alone, reportedly filmed completely practical, is something that seems custom made for IMAX.

Trailer for Oppenheimer

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.