Oppenheimer: In a film about the creator of the atomic bomb, Nolan recognizes the limitations and extols its virtues – Paulo Monteiro – Scododia

If I had been told five years ago that a three-hour film about a historical political plot, with many scenes in black and white, would fill the theaters of a medium-sized town south of Santa Catarina, I would not have It would only doubt, but also issue a genuine smile of disbelief. In a generation where features earning millions at the box office are superheroes, adventures with heavy use of computer graphics, or remakes of Disney works, this previously described scenario seems impossible to believe.

Oppenheimer, although very strong in the image of Barbie as a marketing form, managed to break through this barrier. At the time this article aired, it took almost half a billion dollars at the worldwide box office – all this, I repeat, for a three-hour film that deviates from the “blockbuster pattern” of recent years .

But, after all, are these the points that make Oppenheimer a good film? No. In fact, the feature film of British director Christopher Nolan, one of the most famous among the general public today (although extremely questioned by others), is far from being revolutionary for cinema. Nevertheless, he manages to mix elements inherent in great works of the past and which had not been widely appreciated on the big screen for some time – with a hint of originality from the filmmaker.

Inspired by the book American Prometheus, Oppenheimer collaborated with an American theoretical physicist J.J. Robert Oppenheimer, best known as the creator of the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The film depicts three moments in the scientist’s life: his awakening to the theory of physics and experimental physics, the conduct of the Manhattan Project (which resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb), and the testing after the end of World War II.

In summary, though clichéd, Oppenheimer portrays the moral and professional rise and fall of the physicist who was primarily responsible for creating the atomic bomb, the greatest weapon of mass destruction ever used on the planet. There is a weapon. The film traces the journey of a man who, in an interview in the last century, used a Hindu scripture to describe himself as: “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds”.

In Oppenheimer, Nolan recognizes his limitations as a filmmaker, but he is able to control them (or at least hide them) by exaggerating his qualities. The film is a political picture, but based entirely on scientific controversy that marks the most terrifying moment humanity has ever experienced – and the director is acutely aware of that.

British filmmaker Robert J. Oppenheimer is portrayed as a physics genius, one of those people who are troubled by their thoughts to such an extent that they cannot sleep thinking about molecules, atoms, and the like. And it’s precisely in the way he portrays this inner conflict, which spans the entire film, that Nolan manages to overcome one of its main weaknesses.

Directors have never been very good at creating truly impactful drama in their works. And, in telling Oppenheimer’s story, he had a very difficult task: to show the moral dilemma of the “father of the atomic bomb” without stripping him of responsibility for its creation—or, in other words, without “clothing” him. American history.

Nolan has succeeded in making this a drama with visual presentations, which are mostly abstract, that torment the mind of the main character. Recognizing that dialogue may not be sufficient to convince us of the inner conflict experienced by Oppenheimer, the filmmakers use images of explosions, movement of molecules, and bleak and claustrophobic scenery to help fulfill this role. Takes support By the way, sound and image have always been the director’s forte.

The feature is also marked by a sense of urgency that sets the tempo from the first minute. Initially, with Oppenheimer’s interest being awakened in specific areas of physics. Then, before Nazi Germany, through the race to build the atomic bomb.

Until the moment of the final test of the atomic bomb, we are struck by a sense of urgency that is transmitted by the on-screen dialogues (wordy, continuous and complex themes), the political landscape of World War II, and Oppenheimer. Internal conflict. This is all accompanied by excellent editing, which links three different timelines, and an impeccable soundtrack to the film.

Nolan manages to discuss physics, an extremely complex subject that’s sometimes dull and too abstract for laymen, paying attention to each and every line of dialogue, keeping you on the edge of your cinema chair. Makes it interesting to stand on.

Furthermore, the director has clearly taken care not to ignore the political discussions surrounding the making of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer’s relationship with communism is explored, somewhat superficially, throughout the film. The filmmaker also did not close his eyes to the distortions of the United States during this period, with well-timed dialogue making it clear that the North American conflict in World War II had more to do with position of power than mission. Had to give Stop the Nazis.

What was my surprise then, when a film so frantic in terms of dialogues, sounds and context culminates in a scene of absolute silence. I won’t say what it is here, but I can say it was one of the most interesting and impressive things I’ve ever seen in a movie theater.

Oppenheimer is not a perfect film. Nolan has continued to favor the creation of male protagonists and supporting actors despite being able to direct female characters. Even though Emily Blunt and Florence Pugh do a great job of acting, they end up falling prey to the famously macho portrayal of the hysterical woman. The sex scene in the film almost feels like a crime, as it is so unnecessary for the story, the characters and the film as a whole.

However, the most difficult mission was to portray Oppenheimer without becoming a victim of the war, a “brilliant scientist whose creation was perverted and used by bad guys”. In the feature, the director managed to capture the historical figure’s duality in the sense of making it clear that his creation was based on destruction from the start, and even though it was not his intention to drop the atomic bomb. In Japan, he led construction and participated in discussions of where to store weapons. So, it will have to live with the carnage it helped create.

Cillian Murphy is very good in the role of Oppenheimer, which should earn him a nomination at the main film awards. The actor, in addition to being really similar to the American physicist, manages to highlight on screen very well the dilemma ultimately experienced by the character, in moments where, faced with his own creation, He finds himself almost immersed in a horror movie.

Also, when I say Nolan recognized his limits, I don’t just mean how he deals with his shortcomings in producing dramas. The director also made a moral decision that was, in my opinion, extremely firm: the decision not to visually show the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

A portrait of one of the most horrific moments in human history, a crime committed against Orientals, could easily bring dishonor in the hands of a Western filmmaker. This does not mean that the director turns a blind eye to this fact – quite the contrary. In one specific scene, he makes a point of portraying the horror of this feat through Oppenheimer’s mind.

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