In 2023, director Christopher Nolan’s biopic “Oppenheimer” has been receiving widespread praise from critics for its bold storytelling and powerful performances. The film centers on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American physicist known as the father of the atomic bomb, portrayed by Cillian Murphy. Instead of following a linear narrative, “Oppenheimer” uses non-linear storytelling to explore various stages of Oppenheimer’s life, including his work on the bomb, his earlier career, and his encounters with the House of Un-American Activities Committee.
Clocking in at three hours, “Oppenheimer” is longer than most of Nolan’s previous works, but that hasn’t deterred critics from appreciating its ambitious approach. By choosing to tell the story of a divisive historical figure in a non-linear fashion, the film takes creative risks that have paid off handsomely. It boasts an impressive “Certified Fresh” 93% score from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, signaling overwhelming positive reception.
Nolan’s decision not to rely heavily on CGI, especially for the atom bomb scenes, was initially surprising but ultimately successful. Reviewers have praised the film’s visual impact, with Empire Magazine noting its “nightmarish potency” that delves deep into Oppenheimer’s psyche. The movie’s ability to stun viewers, even amidst a crowded market of CGI-heavy blockbusters, has been highly acclaimed.
At the core of the film’s success is Cillian Murphy’s compelling portrayal of Oppenheimer. His intense and subtle performance has garnered widespread praise, and many critics predict possible Oscar recognition. The ensemble cast, including Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, and Robert Downey Jr., has also received acclaim for their strong contributions.
“Oppenheimer” stands out as a departure from traditional biopics, adopting a dramatic and non-linear approach that matches its theatrical subject. The film has been described as a “cubistic portrait” by The New York Times, offering multiple perspectives simultaneously to provide a clearer view of Oppenheimer’s life and character.
While the film’s ambition and experimental storytelling have been widely applauded, some critics have found it to be overlong and lacking thematic cohesion. However, others argue that this ambiguity allows viewers to engage with the complex and contradictory nature of Oppenheimer’s legacy, drawing their own conclusions.
In terms of technical aspects, the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema has been commended for its stunning visuals and use of close-ups to establish a deeper connection with the characters.
Overall, “Oppenheimer” is considered one of Christopher Nolan’s finest works, delivering a compelling and immersive experience that challenges conventional biopic norms and leaves viewers pondering the legacy of its enigmatic subject.