Sunday, July 23, 2023

Oppenheimer - Movie Review

The Movie: Oppenheimer

The Director: Christopher Nolan

The Cast: Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey, Jr., Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Josh Hartnett and Kenneth Branagh

The Story: The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

The Review:
Knowing the run time for this movie is three hours, I have been very concerned about how interesting and engaging it could be given the subject matter and especially considering director Christopher Nolan's reputation for putting on cinematic spectacles that tell big, epic stories. His movies always get hypes up to no end as must see big screen events that if you don't see in IMAX on the biggest screen in the world then your life just isn't complete. Does the story of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer warrant such a thing? I mean, we all know there's going to be one big explosion but the movie is three hours long.

At the screening I went to, there was a gentleman sitting next to me who seemed to get more and more restless as the movie went on and, as the credits began to roll, he simply said: "Man, that was a long movie." For my part, that's exactly how I felt although I was saying the same thing to myself after what felt like eight hours but must have been only about two. And then the movie kept going for another full hour before I was finally relieved to be able to get out of my seat and be on my way. Back to my life.

Is this movie worth all the big screen hype? Absolutely not. Unless you really want to see close ups of people's faces projected on to giant a IMAX screen for three hours. That right there is about 80% of the movie. Old white people arguing about how powerful they are or how powerful they should be or how powerful they want to be, all in extreme close up and honestly, I didn't really care about any of what was being said. Also, I had no idea that Robert Downey Jr. was playing a man, some sort of politican, who takes up about half the movie, I had no idea who he was and, after watching the story, I still have no idea who he was.

Characters are woven in and out of the story so frequently that it was nearly impossible to keep track of them all, especially because they all kind of looked and sounded the same. Looking at the credits after the fact, I was surprised to see names like Dane DeHaan and Josh Hartnett because I don't remember seeing them. I was happy to see Matthew Modine, James D'Arcy, and Alden Ehrenreich although they, and others were wasted with not nearly enough screen time. Oh, and yes Florence Pugh is in the movie and she has two separate topless scenes although I have no idea why. Both scenes could have easily been done just as well without the nudity.

Yes, there's a big explosion although the movie is far from explosive. It is more courtroom drama than anything else and, as I mentioned at least once already, I really didn't care about any of that stuff. There was no excitement or energy to the film, it was just a lot of anger and arguing and fussing over power and politics. From an historical perspective I really didn't feel like I learned anything either so, in that respect, the movie was kind of a waste. Don't bother seeing this movie in a theater, I think it might actually play better on TV. In the IMAX theater it just felt too big and too loud for its own good.

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