Movie Review: Oppenheimer

Movie poster.Oppenheimer is... fine? I guess? For ever gorgeously composed shot, there's a minute of plodding exposition. For every heart-breaking moment of self-doubt, there's a minute of plodding exposition. For every celebrity cameo, there's a minute of plodding exposition.

That's why this is a decidedly average film. Every single actor is incredible - stuffed as it is with Oscar©®™ winners and nominees. But some of the dialogue is just risible - for example, the revelation that JFK had a bit-part in the proceedings goes like this:

Aide: A young guy trying to make a name for himself, didn't like what you did to Oppenheimer.
Strauss: What's his name?
Aide: Kennedy. John F. Kennedy!

I mean, the actor delivers it well, but it isn't exactly a masterful plot construct.

Robert Downey JR - freed from the franchise shackles - gets to act once again. He is outstanding - which is incredible seeing as the only dialogue he has is narrating what's happening in flashbacks.

Similarly, when it comes to the naming of the "Trinity" site, Oppenheimer just recites a random bit of poetry. There's no rhyme or reason to it (and it seems none was given in reality) so it sticks out compared to the (endless) exposition in other scenes.

Every single frame is a masterpiece. Nolan and his team know exactly how to get the most out of a film shoot. But the rapid changes to aspect ratio are a constant distraction.

The mini-physics lectures contain less detail than a do-your-own-research YouTube video. Which is fine; this is a piece of entertainment, not a physics lesson. The constitutional implications of Senate confirmation are less educational than a West Wing episode. Which is fine; this is a piece of entertainment, not a civics lesson. The exploration of workers rights and the rise of intellectual communism is dismissed without thought. Which is fine; this is a piece of entertainment, not a political philosophy lecture.

But because the film tries to cram in so much, it ends up not really exploring anything.

And on it goes. For every moment of beauty and delight, there's a moment of clock-watching and eye-rolling.

I preferred Barbie.


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3 thoughts on “Movie Review: Oppenheimer”

  1. @Edent It felt like 10 hours of TV crammed into one movie. Grab something from the fridge real quick, and you’ve already missed 10 important details.

  2. says:

    @Edent what I found especially disappointing is how flat all the female characters were. True, it is a biopic and its based on a book, but I can't imagine them all having only 'hysteric rage' as a personality.

    The people who surround a famous person speak a lot to the main character, but in this movie everyone just seemed to just drift around Oppie.


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