The human face emerges as the film’s defining characteristic. Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, was much anticipated because to its ambitious goal of recreating the first atomic bomb’s detonation through the use of analog epic methods.
This film starring Cillian Murphy as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer runs for over three hours. The two of them talk frequently with each other. They are attentive. There are reactions to news no matter how good or bad it is. Especially the protagonist, a top official in the Los Alamos nuclear weapons program who became known as “The American Prometheus” for his disastrous scientific contribution (as the title of Nolan’s primary source, a biography by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherman, implies). Oppenheimer was a brilliant mathematician, low-key showman, and leader, but his personal life was a disaster owing to his impulsive nature and insatiable libido. What he gave to the world was a weapon that might destroy entire civilzations. Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema employ the IMAX film format to juxtapose Oppenheimer’s cool appearance with his inward turmoil. Oppenheimer’s dissociation from terrible situations or engagement with memories, dreams, and waking nightmares are depicted in a series of close-ups with the face of star Cillian Murphy staring into the middle distance, off-screen, and occasionally right into the lens. Extreme close-ups of faces are used well throughout “Oppenheimer,” as characters struggle with their own identities, the identities others have assigned them, and the repercussions of their actions.
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In between prolonged close-ups of characters’ faces, we may get glimpses of their responses to ongoing or recent plot points. Images of fire, debris, and smaller chain-reaction explosions that resemble strings of firecrackers coexist with pictures of past horrific human calamities that are not incendiary. (Much of the flashbacks in this film are built like a snowball: you see a small piece at the beginning, then a bit more, and then the whole thing.) These are not just about the atomic bomb that Oppenheimer and his team plan to detonate in the desert, or even the smaller bombs that keep going off in his life, sometimes because he pushed the big red button in a fit of rage, pride, or lust, and sometimes because he made an innocent or careless mistake that irritated someone a long time ago, and the wronged person responded with the equivalent of a time-delayed bomb. Fissile cutting is a physical metaphor for the domino effect and subsequent chain of events that can result from a single action. Beginning with a close-up of raindrops creating expanding circles on the surface, the film foreshadows Oppenheimer’s public downfall and the explosion of the first nuclear weapon at Los Alamos. Further views of ripples in water further stress this idea (which observers see, then hear, then finally feel, in all its awful impact).
The movie’s concepts and interests are reflected in the characters’ faces, such as Kitty Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt), Robert Oppenheimer’s wife, whose strategic thinking may have saved many tragedies had he listened, and Atomic Energy Commission’s Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey, Jr.). The second is a standalone, contiguous novella that deals with issues of vanity, mediocrity, and jealousy. Oppenheimer, the communist sympathizer and adulterer, is Salieri to Strauss’s Mozart. Strauss is continuously and pitifully telling everyone that he is a fantastic man who also studied science. (The movie implies that Strauss told an outsider about his progressive and communist leanings, who then wrote to J. Edgar Hoover)
During the movie, the idea that detecting quantum phenomena using a detector or other equipment can change the outcome of an experiment is brought up several times. The author does this by revealing new information that causes the reader to second-guess his or her understanding of the character’s intentions. The editing serves as an example since it repeatedly reframes the same event to give it new meaning.
While “Oppenheimer” considers the effects on the war and the Japanese populace, those effects are never depicted on screen. It’s even more crucial than the atomic bomb, in my opinion. Michael Oppenheimer, a filmmaker repulsed by the atomic bomb’s impact on living tissue, tries to picture what it must have been like for Americans during the bombing of Japan. Some readers will be dissatisfied with the book because it doesn’t provide a plain account of the devastation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while others will be enraged because they agree with Strauss and others that the bombs had to be used since Japan wouldn’t have capitulated otherwise. The film doesn’t make clear whether it sides with the former or the latter, among those who believe Japan would have surrendered regardless of the dropping of atomic bombs. The film gives authors, poets, and opera composers the leeway and indulgences they so richly deserve. It accomplishes its goals of visually challenging us with a dramatic retelling of Oppenheimer’s life and the lives of other historically significant figures in his sphere, while also allowing all of these people and all of these events to be used metaphorically and symbolically, so that they become pointillistic elements in a much larger canvas about the mysteries of the human personality and the unanticipated effects of individual and societal decisions.
An additional facet of “Oppenheimer” is noteworthy. Oppenheimer isn’t the main attraction, but rather Murphy’s ominous visage and cloudy, yet menacing, eyes. Examining Oppenheimer’s impact on those around him, including troubled Kitty and his mistress Jean Tatlock (played by Florence Pugh, who possesses some of Gloria Grahame’s self-immolating smolder), as well as the other obstinate members of his atomic bomb development team (like Edwin Teller, played by Benny Safdie, who wanted to advance to the much more potent hydrogen bomb and ultimately betray Oppenheimer), is the focus
Jennifer Lame’s method of editing is prismatic and persistent, frequently moving back and forth in time within a single scene three or more times. Ludwig Göransson’s nearly continuously score, along with the film’s nonstop talking and monologues, creates a peculiar yet intriguing aria of scientific explanation. Listening to a mixtape of Philip Glass’s film scores while reading American Prometheus will give you the same impression. This kind of non-linear movie does a better job of depicting what it’s like to read a third-person omniscient book, and it also more accurately reflects the pinball-machine movements of the human brain (or a biography that permits itself to imagine what its subjects might have been thinking or feeling). The psychological struggle of the reader is also captured as they attempt to make sense of the content on several levels (intellectual, emotional, and visceral). The words keep echoing in my mind. Yet it goes beyond that, making connections not merely to other works of literature but also to real-world data, the author’s own anecdotes, and the author’s creative imagination.
Not because it isn’t important (it is), but because the tale is usually secondary to Nolan’s portrayal of it. We haven’t gone into detail about the film’s narrative or its historical context. Because of his penchant for creating blockbusters that are noisy, enormously intricate, but ultimately muddled and unsophisticated, and which resemble puzzles more than storylines, some have said that Nolan is more of a showman and mathematician than a playwright. Whether or not that characterisation was ever wholly accurate (and I am more certain that it was never true) is irrelevant in light of how ingeniously and fruitfully it has been used to a biography of a real person. It’s possible that “Oppenheimer” will go down in film history as a turning point for the director, the film in which he finally turned inward all of the stylistic and technical practices he’d honed over the previous 20 years in intellectualized pulp blockbusters and used them to explore the depths of the mind and heart rather than merely rearranging human pieces on a series of interconnected, multidimensional storytelling boards.
Similar to Oliver Stone’s biopics from the ’90s, this film combines intellectual rigor with hallucinogenic imagery (at points, it feels like the park bench scene from “JFK” was extended to three hours). A group of high-ranking government officials study a list of probable bombing targets in Japan, and one of them reads out that he has removed Kyoto off the list since he and his wife honeymooned there, a moment of dark humour reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick’s method. The Kubrick link is strengthened by the casting of Matthew Modine (who also appeared in “Full Metal Jacket”) as American engineer and inventor Vannevar Bush. References are made to films such as “The Insider” by Michael Mann, “The Pawnbroker,” “Picnic at Hanging Rock,” and “late-period” Terrence Malick in “Oppenheimer,” among others. (there is a Rosebud-style mystery about what Oppenheimer and his hero Albert Einstein (Tom Conti) are up to. The performers give off a “old movie” impression since they hurry through their lines and don’t use as many dramatic facial expressions as they could in a current tale. The majority of the speech is delivered quickly, giving it a tone of screwball comedy. This is most obvious in the fights between Robert and Kitty over his sexual indiscretions and his refusal to listen to her generally excellent advice, and between Strauss and the Senate aide (Alden Ehrenreich) who is advising him during his testimony before the committee that he hopes will approve him to serve in President Dwight Eisenhower’s cabinet.
Yet, There is an indescribably thrilling bodily feeling that defies description. It’s ironic that Oppenheimer and Strauss spend much of the movie’s third hour seeking to renew their security credentials and secure official permission for Eisenhauer. Several viewers have already mentioned that they wish the movie had ended when the first bomb went off and not delved into Oppenheimer’s background history. The film’s scientific explanations of the hows and whys of the individual and community psyche are complemented, however, by its ruthlessly entropic tendencies. Everyone is testifying in court and trying to justify their various hypocrisies, wrongdoings, and other character faults. The courthouse is in a rather gloomy part of town. Without being informed what to do with it, we have been given all the data necessary to reach a conclusion.