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Oppenheimer (2023)

The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer's role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.
3.3 / 5
4.5 / 5

Incluvie Movie Reviews

Josh Halpern
July 28, 2023
3.5 / 5
4.5 / 5

‘Oppenheimer’: The Man Behind the Myth

I was floored by Oppenheimer.  I left the theater blown away (no pun intended) by what I had just witnessed. The film never felt too long nor boring. Despite not understanding practically pages of dialogue at a time, the movie retained an undeniable gravity (again, no pun intended) and suspense.

I’ve yet to analyze my experience piece by piece because I thought it would ruin the effect. I’ve been surfing this wave of contentment for days without studying the ‘why’ of it all.

What made it great? A few things: the scale, the acting, the technical wizardry involving sound and editing, and a true understanding of an elusive historical figure that starts on the page.  

This wasn’t some sci-fi epic like Interstellar, nor did it have the grit and pedigree of the war film, Dunkirk.  This movie was more subtle. It functions somewhat as a biopic. Starting with his early academic years, Oppenheimer sticks to the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and we don’t venture far from him over the course of 3 hours. The sound, realistic visual effects, and editing are all impressively concentrated on the internal struggles of one man, the “founder of the atomic bomb.”

We root for Oppenheimer throughout the film, but what are we supporting?  Redemption?  Forgiveness for some awful deed? Are we, as an audience, meant to celebrate this person to a degree? This “destroyer of worlds,” as what’s read to him by Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh) early(ish) into the film. A phrase he later recites to himself. 

I may be exaggerating when I say pages of dialogue flew over my head. It was more-so in the second half of the film where I kind of lost track of where the story was trying to go. Instead of dwelling on some depiction of the enemy, be it the German or Japanese during or in the aftermath of World War 2, or the dropping of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we stay close to Oppenheimer as he navigates numerous behind closed door exchanges all in the process of creating and using this extraordinary weapon and dealing with its after-effects.

Much like many of director Christopher Nolan’s films, Oppenheimer sort of jumps around chronologically with a clearly established past and present. They are visually distinct periods: the present is in black & white while the past is in color. This is reminiscent of MementoSimple enough.  It’s an interesting choice by Nolan to assign the traditionally archaic black and white to what’s considered present-day mid-1950s.  The past on the other hand is in vibrant color from the 1920s onward.

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Movie Information

The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer's role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II.

Genre:Drama, History
Directed By:Christopher Nolan
Written By:Christopher Nolan
In Theaters:7/21/2023
Box Office:$952,000,000
Runtime:181 minutes
Studio:Syncopy, Universal Pictures, Atlas Entertainment



Christopher Nolan



Cillian Murphy

J. Robert Oppenheimer


Emily Blunt

Kitty Oppenheimer


Matt Damon

Leslie Groves


Robert Downey Jr.

Lewis Strauss


Florence Pugh

Jean Tatlock


Josh Hartnett

Ernest Lawrence


Casey Affleck

Boris Pash


Rami Malek

David Hill


Kenneth Branagh

Niels Bohr


Benny Safdie

Edward Teller


Jason Clarke

Roger Robb