The quest for power is often a catalyst for mankind’s worst decisions. In Oppenheimer, the impact of these choices is the primary question, and like many of Nolan’s films, it doesn’t offer much by way of concrete answers. Instead, one is left to wonder how humanity will continue to confront the very same question of deterrence vs. disarmament present even today. Dr. Oppenheimer coming to terms with being “the Father of the Atomic Bomb” allows us all to experience the enormous pressure and guilt that can rest on one man’s shoulders. Unlike Tenet’s more abstract risks, every viewer who sees Oppenheimer already understands the consequences and knows the outcome. This allows Nolan’s visual storytelling along with the haunting and powerful musical soundtrack by Ludwig Göransson, to create a combustible viewer experience that is both beautiful and terrifying. Oppenheimer demonstrates that at their core, humans are most destructive when willing to overlook the larger impacts of their actions in the pursuit of self interest. The fallout Oppenheimer must confront is a demonstration of his naivete when it comes to understanding humans. While that may not be an uplifting ending, it is beautifully told and like all Nolan movies forces deliberation upon the magnitude of the viewing experience.
A special thank you to film critic Matt Fletcher for his debut film review at Movie Archer!