Oppenheimer Review | An Explosive Masterpiece

Christopher Nolan's latest film delivers with an emphatic BOOM

It’s been a week since the movie Oppenheimer was released and I still can’t stop thinking about it. My jaw was practically glued to floor up until the very end of the film. This film was able to bring me back to the time of World War II – effectively transporting me to this period and letting me feel and empathize to the situations and moral dilemmas that Oppenheimer so masterfully depicts. Breaking down this masterpiece will be no easy task but we’re going to try. Here’s our Oppenheimer Review!


“Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind” – these are the opening lines from the movie, which really fits well with Christopher Nolan’s biopic based on the life of theoretical physicist, J. Robert OPPENHEIMER, the “father of the atomic bomb”. The film was focused on Oppenheimer’s journey in developing the first nuclear weapon that was inspired by the works of the famous scientist, Albert Einstein; and how it affected him after the devastation it caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It’s worth noting that Christopher Nolan went with his practically signature non-linear approach with storytelling in this film. Here, he entangles the various timelines between Oppenheimer’s life – from his early days of studying in Cambridge, his time in Los Alamos, and through to his security hearing together with Lewis Strauss’ confirmation hearing. Nolan used colored scenes to depict Oppenheimer’s subjective experience where the audience can clearly see that it is in first-person (Oppenheimer’s) perspective, while the black-and-white scenes were used to show the audience a more objective view of his story, told in third-person perspective. Which some may find a bit confusing but is powerfully done in terms of flow.


The Amazing Characterization of Oppenheimer

Nolan’s portrayal of Oppenheimer was definitely a stand-out aspect of the movie. The film effectively conveys to the audience Oppenheimer’s love for physics – even representing it through music and sparks of fire especially in his scenes with Patrick Blacket in Cambridge and with Werner Heisenberg. Here, you can clearly see Oppenheimer’s passion for science and discovery. The film then adds more layers to him by highlighting Oppenheimer’s other facets. As a lover, his scenes with Jean Tatlock, a psychiatrist and a physician who’s also a member of Communist Party USA who he had an on-and-off romantic relationship with, showcased his flaws. His relationship with Jean was quite complicated and confusing as it was like an open relationship where they really do care for each other but can’t commit to it. Their relationship continued until Oppenheimer met his future wife, Katherine “Kitty” Puening, a biologist, botanist and a former Communist. And then you have the film’s depictions of Oppenheimer’s humanity and vulnerability. Cillian Murphy’s acting really shines with this as his scene where Kitty (played by Emily Blunt) confronts him was powerful to say the least. That was the first time where I felt that Oppenheimer was at his lowest point of his life. It was the first time where I was able to see that he is capable of showing care, since I didn’t see it on how he treated his two children with Kitty.

To say that Nolan was able to make Oppenheimer as round of a character as possible is almost and understatement. You see his pride and regret in creating the atomic bomb and its effect on him during the war by making him a man of science conflicted by his values as a human being versus his love and passion for discovery as a scientist. Oppenheimer had to show strength and confidence in front of everyone even though the guilt of mass genocide has been eating him up. Murphy was able to show us, the audience, the side of Oppenheimer that no one has ever seen, his portrayal of the role made Oppenheimer relatable and that he is so much more than “the father of the atomic bomb” or “death, the destroyer of worlds”.


Cinematography and The Cast


One of the main highlights of the film was definitely the Trinity test. Nolan didn’t use any CGI for the explosion, he even used IMAX film to make it as immersive as possible, which makes this movie a must-watch in an IMAX cinema for the best experience. The cinema was totally quiet at the moment of the Trinity test, everyone holding their breaths, it was as if we were transported there in the scene to be astonished and witness history right before our eyes.

Everyone in the cast did a really great job in portraying their characters, and even the production and makeup department did an amazing job making each actor look like the characters they are portraying, they even made Tom Conti look exactly like Albert Einstein! Matt Damon was on point in representing Gen. Groves, especially in the scene where they start to recruit the best of the best scientists to assemble their very own version of Avengers (but make them scientists). Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer is so astonishing, from his appearance to his voice and up to the point where he’s being driven mad by his guilt but still needs to put up a strong face in front of the world; there’s no other actor that would fit perfectly as Oppenheimer other than Cillian Murphy. But the one who really stood out from the rest was no other than Robert Downey Jr.’s character. RDJ had a little exposure in the 3-hour film, but his acting really takes the cake! His embodiment of Lewis Strauss was absolutely and brilliantly stunning! There was no trace of Tony Stark in his acting, it was purely RDJ magic, truly a very versatile actor.

The ending scene where Oppenheimer approaches Einstein and brings up his theory on triggering a chain reaction after detonating the atomic bomb was so powerful, it left me dumbfounded as if I didn’t want the movie to end, the next thing I know people in the cinema were clapping and the credits started rolling. Nolan’s depiction on how the chain reaction is being visualized in Oppenheimer’s head will give you chills; it’s giving the idea that the atomic bomb will not end the war but will make it endless instead. This film is amazing, and I would love to watch it again and again, especially to pay close attention on the conversations since all the scenes were heavy on dialogue and I find myself lost in some parts especially when they are discussing physics.


Do we recommend it? Absolutely, yes! But be sure to have a little bit of knowledge about the happenings after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bomb incidents so that you won’t get confused on the court hearing scenes. Fair warning, this movie is not for those people who has a short attention span since you will need to pay close attention on the conversations between the characters. Catch Oppenheimer on IMAX cinema near you!