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Home / Arts / TOtimes At The Movies: ‘Oppenheimer’ is a visual spectacle pulsating with an immersive narrative

TOtimes At The Movies: ‘Oppenheimer’ is a visual spectacle pulsating with an immersive narrative


TORONTO, August 3/2023 – Hundreds of thousands of innocent souls died when the Atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Oppenheimer is the story of the group of scientists who created the atomic bomb and struggled with its morality.

Christopher Nolan, the maestro of innovative storytelling, unleashes his creative prowess once again with “Oppenheimer.” This captivating film breathes new life into the stagnant biopic genre, seamlessly weaving between different time periods and ingeniously juxtaposing black and white with colour photography. The result is a visual spectacle that pulsates with energy, enthralling audiences with its epic scope and immersive narrative.

Take A Step Back in Time

This film takes the audience a step back in time to the heart of World War II, where Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves Jr., an enigmatic military strategist, handpicks the brilliant physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer for a classified and dangerous mission, the Manhattan Project – the creation of the Atomic Bomb.

The Atomic Bomb

With the fate of the world hanging in the balance, Oppenheimer leads an extraordinary team of dedicated scientists on an arduous journey spanning years, racing against the clock to develop the most powerful weapon ever conceived – the atomic bomb.

A Roller Coaster of Emotions

The film is a gripping and historically significant tale that delves deep into the minds of these visionaries, exploring the sacrifices, moral dilemmas, and the unstoppable pursuit of knowledge that forever altered the course of history. Brace yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions as this cinematic journey takes you on a thrilling ride through one of humanity’s most momentous chapters. Be prepared to witness the brilliance, the darkness, and the sheer power that lay within the grasp of these daring pioneers.

See Oppenheimer in IMAX

Shot entirely on 70mm IMAX film, Nolan’s favourite choice infuses every frame with a mesmerizing level of detail, creating a granular universe that bursts to life even on digital transfers. For the most unforgettable experience, heed the undeniable advice: witness “Oppenheimer” on the largest screen available to truly immerse yourself in its grandeur.

Breathtaking Cinematography

Staying true to the tradition of the maxi-screen medium, Nolan, alongside his trusted cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, captures awe-inspiring vistas of the New Mexico desert and picturesque glimpses of lush university campuses where the characters’ destinies intertwined. Filming predominantly on or near the original locations, Nolan goes the extra mile by meticulously recreating The Manhattan Project’s Los Alamos town, preserving every board and nail down to the last detail.

In a stroke of brilliance, Nolan eschews the clichéd formula that often plagues biographical films, breaking free from the shackles of predictability. “Oppenheimer” becomes a mesmerizing journey that transcends the ordinary, presenting a gripping account of a life filled with peaks and valleys. Nestled within the heart of the scientific community, this enigmatic figure’s logic-driven approach to work intertwines with the unconventional and even egotistical blunders in his personal life, forging a captivating narrative of complexity and humanity.

Top Secret Scientists

In a mesmerizing display of non-linear storytelling, “Oppenheimer” commands attention with a riveting plot that revolves around the clandestine formation of a top-secret coalition of scientists, tasked with the monumental mission of constructing the atomic bomb. However, beneath the surface of this gripping narrative lies a rich tapestry of thought-provoking themes, delving into the realms of coercion, Communism, and collective vision.

OSCAR for Cillian?

Cillian Murphy delivers a captivating performance as the soft-spoken yet brilliant J. Robert Oppenheimer, the esteemed director of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, where profound discussions on quantum physics unfold with the venerable Albert Einstein, portrayed remarkably by Tom Conti.

The Manhattan Project

Amidst the turmoil of World War II, Oppenheimer is enlisted by the commanding U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves, portrayed compellingly by Matt Damon, to spearhead the Manhattan Project. In a highly guarded intellectual boot camp at Los Alamos, New Mexico, the finest minds in American physics, including Isidore Rabi (David Krumholtz), Ernest Lawrence (Josh Hartnett), and Edward Teller (Benny Safdie), come together to develop the world-altering weapon that would ultimately compel Japan’s surrender.

Florence Pugh is Mesmerizing

“Oppenheimer” unearths the deeply personal facets of its protagonist, as Christopher Nolan masterfully explores Oppenheimer’s complicated romantic entanglements. The portrayal of his fraught relationship with psychiatrist Jean Tatlock, played by the mesmerizing Florence Pugh, a member of the American Communist Party, and his subsequent marriage to the resilient Kathleen ‘Kitty’ (Emily Blunt), the mother of his children, adds layers of complexity and humanity to the narrative.

The Hydrogen Bomb

As history unfolds, Oppenheimer’s philosophical stance against the development of the hydrogen bomb becomes a pivotal point in the movie. The film thoughtfully delves into his counsel to U.S. politicians, urging cooperation towards an international agreement on the judicious use of nuclear weapons.

“Oppenheimer” is an intellectually stimulating and historically rich journey that beckons audiences to ponder the profound implications of scientific pursuits intertwined with the human spirit. Christopher Nolan’s deft directorial touch, combined with stellar performances, elevates this cinematic opus to an important exploration of both historical events and timeless moral dilemmas. Prepare to be captivated by its depth and resonance, as “Oppenheimer” leaves an indelible mark on the panorama of thought-provoking cinema.

A Race Against Time

At the core of this cinematic marvel lies the assembly and test of the atomic bomb – a nerve-wracking, relentless race against time. In his signature style, Nolan crafts a movie that pulsates with ticking-clock suspense, enthralling us with its brilliantly constructed urgency. Scenes play out like lightning flashes, each lasting mere minutes, delivering precisely what we need to know with no frills. The drama unfolds with full force, leaving us on the edge of our seats as history’s pivotal moments are brought vividly to life.

In the final captivating hours, the aftermath takes center stage, and Oppenheimer’s transformation into a pariah for his critiques of the bomb’s wartime usage is laid bare. Murphy’s portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer is nothing short of staggering, capturing the essence of a complex individual torn between the exhilaration of scientific breakthroughs and the profound sorrow of the lives lost due to his work. Nolan’s skillful structure provides the foundation, but it is Murphy’s remarkable performance that imbues the character with genuine, three-dimensional humanity.

The Supporting Cast of Oppenheimer

The supporting cast delivers pitch-perfect performances, with Downey Jr. shedding his usual quirks to immerse himself in the role of Strauss. Blunt and Pugh shine brightly, portraying the women who significantly impact the life of the titular subject. Amidst the heated discussions about the passionate intimacy between Murphy and Pugh’s characters, one finds that these scenes serve a greater purpose. They offer a glimpse into Oppenheimer’s personal life, elevating him from a mere historical figure to a man driven by both scientific fervor and deeply human emotions.

What About The Victims?

Some have criticized “Oppenheimer” for giving short shrift to the countless victims that resulted from Oppenheimer’s work — notably, the Indigenous people of New Mexico affected by atomic fallout and the Japanese people on whom atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those are touched on briefly, though it’s valid to argue that more could be said, even in a three-hour movie. The broader message Nolan conveys brilliantly is that the atomic bomb, no matter how it was justified during World War II and the Cold War, has given the world the horrible ability to destroy ourselves in a matter of minutes.

by Myles Shane

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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