Oppenheimer: Is the historical epic about the “father of the atomic bomb” Christopher Nolan’s best film to date? – Movie review


In “Oppenheimer” the life of the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb”, is retold. You can find out in the film review whether director Christopher Nolan created a masterpiece with it.

  • In “Oppenheimer” the life and work of the physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer is presented with many ups and downs.
  • “Peaky Blinders” star Cillian Murphy plays the “father of the atomic bomb” in the film and impresses with his performance.
  • You can find out how much director Christopher Nolan has challenged the viewers again in our film review!

The biopic “Oppenheimer” tells the story of the American theoretical physicist Julius Robert Oppenheimer, who went down in history as the “father of the atomic bomb” during World War II. This role will be played by Cillian Murphy, known to many viewers from the gangster drama “Peaky Blinders”.

Murphy is a perfect choice for this very ambiguous character and manages to portray Oppenheimer’s work as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project in a very poignant way. His acting performance sets the tone throughout the film, showing the inner conflict the respected scientist struggles with as he researches the massive bomb.

Oppenheimer initially committed himself to working on the project with great dedication – for fear of approaching competition from Nazi Germany. The fate of the world seems to be in his hands. Oppenheimer’s emerging doubts are highlighted by an impressive soundtrack and powerful visuals, immersing viewers in his thought process.

At the Manhattan Project, Oppenheimer, who is a very ambitious, self-absorbed, and brilliant individual, is joined by a number of collaborators including theoretical physicist Edward Teller (Benny Safdie), Robert Serber (Michael Angarano, “This Is Us”), and nuclear physicist Ernest Lawrence ( Josh Hartnett, “Penny Dreadful”). The emerging rivalries and disagreements between the talented scientists are staged in a very exciting way and become very important in the later process.

The performances of the Danish physicist Niels Bohr (Kenneth Branagh, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”) and the German physicist Albert Einstein (Tom Conti), who lives in the USA, are particularly memorable. They give the film a moral compass as the two veteran scientists are not directly involved in the development of the atomic bomb and warn Oppenheimer of the dangers and implications of this crucial invention.

Oppenheimer is not only involved in his many years of work on the Manhattan Project, but is also involved in his many women’s affairs. This is where the only female roles finally come into play. First, Florence Pugh (“Don’t Worry Darling”, “Black Widow”) is shown as psychiatrist Jean Tatlock. She plays a very tragic character who lives in the US as a communist and begins an unfortunate affair with Oppenheimer. Unfortunately, Pugh’s character is only involved in the plot very briefly and concisely and with her masterful performance she can at least breathe some life and poignancy into the film.

The other is Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place”) as Oppenheimer’s wife, biologist and botanist Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer. She is a great support for the physicist and despite his reputation as a “womanizer” always remains at his side. Blunt’s acting as an alcoholic and dissatisfied housewife and mother with no perspective of her own is also very moving, but told to the end in just a few scenes.

During his arduous work on the project, Oppenheimer must contend with General Leslie Groves Jr. (Academy Award winner Matt Damon, “Good Will Hunting”, “Air”), the military director of the Manhattan Project, and Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr., “Iron Man”), co-founder of the US Atomic Energy Commission.

In order to clear his name and save his career as a scientist in the USA, Oppenheimer faces an interrogation. Not only his remorse as the “father of the atomic bomb” characterizes him, but much more his possible connections to the Communist Party. This part of the plot is picked up again and again and shown in flashbacks. His rivalry with Strauss drags on in many places and could have been told much more concisely.

Director Christopher Nolan, best known for his Batman reboot series and blockbuster Tenet, drew much of the film’s screenplay from Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s Oppenheimer biography.

The film’s claim of doing what the book couldn’t and grippingly telling the story of Oppenheimer in an impressive 3-hour film was fulfilled overall. Thanks to the excellent music selection, effective editing and remarkable camera work, Nolan was able to captivate viewers with the biopic about Oppenheimer and put together one of his best films to date.

An explosive historical film with a star cast

The choice of “Peaky Blinders” star Cillian Murphy in the leading role as physicist Oppenheimer is particularly fitting and is ideally complemented by the top-class cast. The story of the elaborate Manhattan project is told in great detail and loosened up with many exciting moments. Typical here are the practical effects by director Nolan, which are very authentic and allow the enormous power of the atomic bomb to take full effect. The acting performances of Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt unfortunately fell a bit short and were overshadowed by the long stretch surrounding the character of Robert Downey Jr. All in all, Nolan was not only able to convince with his emotionally charged blockbuster in terms of action, but also managed to film a gripping story about an important part of world history.

age ratingfrom 12 years
Duration181 minutes

19 July 2023

Post Credit Scene


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  • Charles Roven
  • Christopher Nolan
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