Prometheus gave man fire, and the Gods were not happy. Oppenheimer, the latest Christopher Nolan Film, is a war drama based on the Los Alamos Project, the race to acquire the Atomic Bomb. Based on the book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of Robert J. Oppenheimer, the $100 million production follows Oppenheimer and his science team’s development of the ultimate weapon.
Cillian Murphy gets promoted from Nolan supporting player to lead as the conflicted egocentric work driven project head. The Irish actor makes of the most of his screen time by playing the man on an intense mission, unheeding the future consequences until too late. Emily Brunt as the bottle dependent Mrs. Oppenheimer had to have watched Deborah Kerr’s 1953 perfromance in the film From Here to Eternity for reference, drawing on the cruelty of her marital situation.
Robert Downey Jr clearly has set his eyes on the Oscar Nomination playing Opeenheimer’s intellectual inferior yet cunning adversary Lewis Strauss. Mat Damon as General Lesile Groves comes across as forced, a blustering perfomance in a military uniform that was too big for the wearer.
What Actor would turn down a call from one of the top directors of his time? Clearly none. Nolan assembled top talent and names for the above the line ensemble, but there laid the problem. The key supporting characters intricately involved in the plot were overshadowed, forgotten. Bennie Safdie as a H-Bomb developer Edward Teller and Sadie Stratton as Mary Washburn had screen time, why? It is a case of wasting talent, not performances, rather, stock pieces.
Oppenheimer is dazzling film making on many levels, yet at times dazzling dullish, dazzling flawed and dazzling overwrought. At 180 minutes, Nolan’s screenplay kept the tension tight while seemingly going in small circles. Production values are top, camera work, editing and sound departments will certainly attend the upcoming technical awards ceremonies.
At a time when movie goers are experince super hero fatigue Oppenheimer shows audience want more than men in tights. Mr. Nolan gains praise for his work.
Instead of the giving Oppenheimer the title of Prometheus, perhaps Empimetheus, the God of Afterthought, would be a better. After all, The Greek Titan had the key to the Pandoras box. Look what happened we he gave it away.
Oppenheimer earns 3 out of 4 stars.