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Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures)

Oppenheimer is a biographical, political thriller about the co-creator of the atomic bomb, American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Source: Australian Catholics.

Oppenheimer (Murphy) was a brilliant theoretical physicist who shares responsibility for the development of the atomic bomb detonated by the US over the Japanese city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and a second atomic bomb dropped three days later in Nagasaki.

The film is based on the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J Sherwin.

Irish actor Murphy delivers a deeply moving performance as Oppenheimer and Matt Damon convincingly plays Army General Leslie Groves, who was the chief Project overseer for The Manhattan Project, the name of the program that developed the bomb.

The film used real explosives instead of computer-generated graphics to recreate the ferocity of the bomb blast. While scenes of the blast are extraordinarily vivid and impactful the film’s focus is on testing the atomic bomb, not its deployment.

The film explores Oppenheimer’s ties to the Communist Party and the espionage activities in which he was reputedly involved. Oppenheimer thought that the atomic bomb was immensely powerful, but he went ahead in its creation. He didn’t know if the US could be trusted with the weapon, but he was certain the Nazis couldn’t. His wife, Kitty (Blunt) was seriously concerned about his developing the bomb, and conflicts existed among a number of the scientists with whom Oppenheimer worked.

Oppenheimer ’s imagery and the political, intelligent nature of its scripting, motivates viewers to reflect seriously upon the horrors of nuclear war.  

Under Nolan’s fluid, expert direction, and Murphy’s outstanding acting, it tells us unequivocally that nations should never use nuclear weaponry, whatever might be the reason for their wanting to do so.

Review by Peter W Sheehan, Jesuit Media.

Oppenheimer: Starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt and Matt Damon. Also, Robert Downey Jr, Kenneth Branagh, Florence Pugh and Gary Oldman. Directed by Christopher Nolan. Rated MA15+. Restricted. (Strong sex, and a suicide scene). 180 min.


Oppenheimer (Jesuit Media via Australian Catholics