“They won’t fear it until they understand it. And they won’t understand it until they’ve used it. Theory will only take you so far”, J. Robert Oppenheimer (Oppenheimer, 2023)
A sentence in the prologue. oppenheimer explains a bit about the myth of Prometheus, the legendary Titan figure who stole fire from the gods and gave it to mankind. For his actions, Prometheus was sentenced to chains on a mountain peak where a giant eagle ate his liver every day.
It stands to reason that Nolan would use that phrase because he takes Oppenheimer’s story based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book ‘American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer’ by Martin Sherwin and Kai Bird.
This phrase also reminds humanity of the story of Prometheus that gives hope but can also cause tragedy.
On August 6 and 9, 1945, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in hopes of ending World War II.
The bombardment of these two cities was the beginning of an extraordinary display of weapons power never before seen by humanity. This tragic event is one of the most important events in human history in the 20th century.
The atomic bomb that ended the war and forced Japan to surrender to the Allies was made by J. Robert Oppenheimer and later earned the nickname ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’.
Following the story of a famous 20th century scientist, Dr. Julius Robert Oppenheimer, the figure behind the creation of the first nuclear weapons and his involvement in a secret and ambitious project that brought together many brilliant scientists in the Manhattan Project to create the ultimate weapon that could end World War II.
The narrative follows a non-linear time pattern.
The film follows Oppenheimer’s life story and is told in a non-linear fashion, moving through different time periods.
It gracefully and accurately captures the key moments of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, from his life as a Cambridge student in Europe, to his time teaching a new subject called quantum mechanics in California, USA.
A day in which he meets his wife Kitty (Emily Blunt) until his participation in the Manhattan Project, the secret program of the United States government to develop an atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Nolan takes us into the sprawling story with direct jumps between timelines and introduces us to the many characters surrounding Oppenheimer’s life, from those who support him to those who oppose him.
From there, Nolan introduced us to the atmosphere of the world of science through physics, which at that time was just developing with the appearance of various new theories and discoveries that also gave rise to new figures in the world of science. physical.
Then some of those scientific thinkers got involved in history to make discoveries and breakthroughs that would change the world forever.
Nolan tells many stories in the context of the complicated and ultimately controversial relationship between Julius Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and Admiral Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.), a politician who admired Oppenheimer’s intellect but later despised him.
The plot of the story uses three stages of the narrative.
Director Christopher Nolan uses three stages of the narrative to chronicle the evolution of the life of J. Robert ‘Oppie’ Oppenheimer. The opening narrative is seen when an Oppenheimer student struggles with a lot of lab work, upon his return from Europe.
Oppenheimer, who taught at Berkeley, showed an interest in politics and even attended meetings on the left to organize a labor union for scientists.
The following narrative begins with the United States government’s interest in Oppenheimer’s research proposals and innovative scientific work, leading General Leslie R. Groves (Matt Damon) to recruit this scientist of Jewish descent to become the Director of the Manhattan Project.
In the 1940s, Oppenheimer built a desert city in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a place to accommodate himself and a team of scientists and their families on their quest to create a weapon of mass destruction, the atomic bomb by the noble reason that the world’s first nuclear weapon could end the war.
The bomb was originally used to fight the fascist government of the Nazis during World War II, but then historical events spoke differently after Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin, Germany, automatically causing Germany to lose
Finally, Oppenheimer gave technical instructions so that the new weapon could be used against Japan.
During this process, we will see many struggles and questions when we do something that has never been done in the history of mankind. There will be risks, moral issues, unintended consequences, and potential construction horrors you can’t even imagine.
The film reaches a climax when the narrative tells of a security hearing or trial for Oppenheimer. The scientist close to Albert Einstein had been under suspicion because of his ties to the Communist Party since he taught theoretical physics at the University of California at Berkeley in the 1930s.
Although Oppenheimer never joined the left party, many people close to him participated in its activities, including his wife and younger brother.
Because of this, the FBI, which at the time was led by J. Edgar Hoover, thought that this prominent scientist could endanger national security and was even accused of spying for the Soviet Union.
The prosecution had his movements monitored, his phone tapped, even his trash can searched by the FBI.
The culmination of the event known as the ‘Red Scare’ was the Oppenheimer security trial, where over 40 days testimony was heard from both sides and the results indicated that Oppenheimer was a loyal citizen, but his security license had to be permanently revoked. .
Along with that, there was also a Senate confirmation hearing for Lewis Strauss, who became Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and became Oppenheimer’s nemesis.
The Commerce Secretary hearings under President Dwight Eisenhower should have been an easy ride for him, were it not for some disturbing facts about his years as AEC chairman and his dealings with Oppenheimer.
Representing two different perspectives.
Nolan uses two different perspectives in this biopic, as seen at the beginning of the film, where two subtitles appear, the first being ‘Fission’ describing Oppenheimer’s own view and the second being ‘Fussion’ expressing the view of a naval. official. , Lewis Strauss.
To distinguish between the two perspectives, Nolan cleverly uses a colorful format that depicts a story based on Oppenheimer’s own eyes. A national hero whose voice was tragically silenced and became a political victim.
On the other hand, the perspective of Lewis Strauss, who initially admired Oppenheimer, later turned against him along the way using a black and white format.
Cillian Murphy impresses as the father of the atomic bomb as a brilliant, restless and obsessive individual, as well as a contemplative individual who is impossible for those around him to fully comprehend.
Likewise, the appearance of Robert Downey, Jr., who presents an ambitious figure and sacrifices his friendship with Oppenheimer for the sake of his personal ambition, is also quite impressive.
But the most interesting part of Oppenheimer is its sound design composed by Oscar and Grammy winner Ludwig Göransson, which mesmerizes the audience in every sense of the phrase.
His voice runs through the entire film providing a “punch” of emotion as the visuals are sometimes beautiful and sometimes Nolan uses his voice to make audiences feel the devastation that is taking place.
oppenheimer Julius Robert Oppenheimer is a biographical film depicting the life of a man who became a national hero famed for his extraordinary achievements, but then his own country turned against him, humiliated, silenced, and ousted him.
Nolan epically uses artful visuals and sound design to explain important events in Oppenheimer’s life, whether they be tragedies or triumphs.
Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, Kenneth Branagh, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, Matt Damon, Jason Clark, Dane Dehaan, Gary Oldman