180 minutes(5 out of 5)
Reviewed by: Alessia Belsito-Riera
Thanks to TikTok, baby girl is now used to refer to grown men (fictional or real) who have their fandom in a loving chokehold. Cillian Murphy’s J Robert Oppenheimer (and Murphy as well, who doesn’t love a lanky, dark-haired man with piercing blue eyes and a sweet-talking Irish purr?) definitely qualifies as baby girl.
Rather than gush about Murphy (don’t worry, I will continue to gush) I’ll pivot to reviewing director, writer, and producer Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer, which tells the story of the father of the atomic bomb. I saw Nolan’s Tenet and the only remember the terrible sound mixing. Don’t come for me, I know it was ‘intentional’, but I think that’s a pretentious excuse. I saw Inception at the peak of my DiCaprio obsession though and loved it.
Oppenheimer? Three hours is an intimidating runtime, and I didn’t particularly want my teeth rattling out of my skull for that long while bombs were let off left, right, and centre. But I do love me a good biopic… and Cillian Murphy!
It is phenomenal. Oppenheimer is destined to win a couple of Oscars. I have a favourite editor now, Jennifer Lame, who just chef’s kissed her job. I loved the use of black and white to denote different timeframes and storylines. I was engrossed for the entire three hours, on the edge of my seat watching the physicist’s life unfold, evolve, and unravel. I understood all the complicated science things. My only note to viewers is to brush up on US history pre and post-WWII. Without a base knowledge of depression-era ideologies, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare, I may have been a tad confused.
Oppenheimer was written so beautifully, the story a Russian doll, each level revealing another surprise, another mystery, another heartbreak. And I was saddled with what felt like the same moral dilemma Oppenheimer was faced with. Through the scientist’s perspective, the film humanises a moment that most of us see now as morally questionable. Like Prometheus giving humanity fire, Oppenheimer gave us nuclear weapons. How was he to know he’d be tortured for eternity? Not only by history, but by his own morals.
Go see Oppenheimer. If not for me, for our baby girl Cillian Murphy.