Late 20s. J. Robert Oppenheimer is a physicist promising among the many others who left America to study in Europe. Very quickly, he developed a passion for quantum mechanics, and dreamed constantly of that other world: that of atoms, of matter, of stars dead collapsing on themselves in the silence of the space.
At this moment, Robert Oppenheimer does not know yet that it will participate in the Manhattan Project, create the atomic bomb, and contribute to the death of hundreds of thousands of people. At this moment, it has not yet become the “destroyer of worlds”.
It is this trajectory, tragic and inspiring that has chosen Christopher Nolan for his new film, less spectacular than his last essays Dunkirk and Tenet, but even more ambitious. Oppenheimer is a massive epic of three hours with a cast of five-star – Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, and Robert Downey Jr., to name only a few – and a budget estimated at 100 million. A project that sounds like a fault in the Hollywood system currently, especially considering the density of the theme and narrative of the film, which will no doubt be a part of the public on the tile.
Because Oppenheimer is not a biopic as the other. Like his previous creations, Nolan is above all an experience of cinema absolute, total immersion is the key word. The staging made the body with the rhythms of the composer Ludwig Göransson to make strong all the subjective impressions of Oppenheimer, his musings and poetic initials up to his awareness.
The music associated with the precision of the mounting gives birth to an unstoppable symphony that brings together human issues, policies, and scientists across a large movement in distress while generating some unforgettable pictures along the way. Oppenheimer is thus similar to an opera desperate, a mosaic of moments haunted by the anxiety of the coming disaster.
For behind the mastery formal, Nolan does not lose sight of its true subject. Science prodigy, the nuclear bomb remains a monstrous weapon, and the benefits will eventually catch up with Oppenheimer. “You’re not a physicist, but a policy of” throws him one of his colleagues, lucid as the failover of his friend.
A truth that the scientist will be too late. The film does not merely describe the creation of the nuclear weapon, but provides an intelligent portrait of the post-war society, the period when the U.S. state sombra brutally in the paranoia of the communist regime. With his bomb, Oppenheimer opened the doors to a new world of which he had completely lost control.
Oppenheimer is not perfect. As often with Nolan, it suffers from a complexity a bit overrated, and characters are sometimes poorly written, no doubt affected by the frenetic pace of the narrative.
Minor defects were swept away by the coldness of his conclusion: the nuclear bomb was only a step, the first step of a path that would lead to the Cold War, to the race of armaments, and more terrible still. Robert Oppenheimer, who became a prophet of the book of Revelation in the final scenes, said it himself: as soon as the first bomb, the chain reaction was initiated. With Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan goes back to the thread and reminds us of the magnitude of this inaugural explosion.