Seriously, “Oppenheimer” doesn’t stop
In a time when we can utter the words “Oppenheimer” and “Christopher Nolan” in the same sentence, you know you’re in for something dark, dragging and demented. Such was the case for Interstellar, Inception and The Prestige, and so it is so for Oppenheimer.
RELATED: Come On, Watch “Barbie”
If you don’t remember your history, J. Robert Oppenheimer is the man credited for the atomic bomb—you know the ones, they obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the tail end of World War II, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and even more reeling with the radiation effects. So no, this isn’t a happy movie. If that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere.
The trailer runs for three minutes, and the film itself runs for three hours. Needless to say, a lot happens in this film, and it gets more difficult to keep up as the movie goes on.
Oppenheimer starts where all stories start: humbly. The scientist starts off in foreign countries, learning as much as he can, before taking everything to the United States and teaching them all to a growing class of his own. When a military man starts talking about a project, Oppenheimer knows he’s found something special. What follows is years of experimentations, gathering of the necessary materials, and Oppenheimer’s rise to fame and power.
And then, the inevitable: Despite World War II essentially being won, the United States decides to still bomb Japan. Was it a sheer show of force? Was it so that the world is reminded of what they can do? Who knows the truth.
Then the film skews to the aftermath of the bombings. What happens to Oppenheimer and his colleagues? Who is to blame? A trial of sorts unfolds in black and white, and in the end, we get our answers—in the same way we would get answers from opening a history book (or Wikipedia).
So because we know the story already, is Oppenheimer still worth the watch? If you like a lot of drama that agonizes over hours, then yes. Don’t get me wrong; the film is great in all the ways that films should be. The cinematography, the cast and the score are impeccable. It’s a piece of history that’s told effectively, thanks to one of the leading directors of this age. It touches on mental health, the stress of popularity and important questions of humanity: Just because you can, should you? If you give someone the way but they push the button, who is at fault? Where do you draw the line between innocence and guilt?
Oppenheimer may not be the best watch of the month, but it’s a watch that many of us would prefer not to skip. So here’s my advice: be ready for it. Eat beforehand, empty your bladder and wear something comfortable, because with the pace this film takes, Oppenheimer demands that we play catch up.
“Oppenheimer” is showing in theaters now.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver