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I guess I'm an official Nolan Fanboy after all these years of resistance.
I kept going: "Is that? Is that? It sure is!" So many actors transformed by makeup.
Bonus points: Find "Leelee" Sobieski.
Well, finally got around to seeing this film, and I was largely disappointed. It mainly just focused on the politics, and totally ignored the science and engineering of the Manhattan Project. So, the miniseries done by the BBC, and aired on PBS' Masterpiece Theater (starring Sam Waterston as Oppenheimer), is still my go to about this project.
I saw a 70 mm film version in Chicago last night, and the movie was followed by a panel discussion featuring a group of learned people. During the discussion we learned that the reason that many scenes had cuts between color and black & white photography in the same scene was that the black and white parts used actual historic dialogue, while the color shots used stuff made up for this movie! It would have been nice to know this before siting through 3 hours of this cinematic mess. So I guess that this an anti-spoiler. The acting and dialogue is very good, but this fact gets distracted by the goofy editing. The sound track has effects and music which are way too loud at times, although the dialogue level is always just right, so I have to assume that this was done on purpose. The scene with the flash where the bomb finally explodes is followed by several quiet minutes which moves between several scenes of the observers, and then you finally hear the explosion, after several minutes! We got to the old theater here about half an hour before the movie was supposed to start, but it was quite full and hard to get good seats. I wound up behind a tall guy with big hair and a mustache. Next to him was a woman with her hair up in a bun wrapped by a scarf, with another woman next to her. Both women were wearing fake mustaches for some reason! I changed my seat to the other side of my wife which had an empty seat in front of it, but a tall guy came and sat in it just before the movie. It was pretty much a full house so moving again was not an option, however about an hour and a half into the movie I began to appreciate the fact that the tall guy in front of me had his head covering about 1/3 of the screen, so I kept telling myself "You're not missing that much". So now I would recommend seeing Oppenheimer while sitting behind a tall guy with ample hair. Some years ago there was a mini-series on TV with Sam Waterston as Oppenheimer which told the story much better than the current movie.
By Peter Hitchens ( you need to scroll down ) or read it all
The germans were working on a two stage variant of the V2 rocket which could have reached New York, however Hitchen's claim that they never got anywhere near creating an atomic bomb is debatable depending on what sources you look at today. In one version they had plans for a radioactive "dirty bomb" which would have made a lot of people sick if it hit New York. In another version they got a lot closer to actually producing a low yield atom bomb, and people on the german end like Heisenberg were not exactly eager to share their involvement with the german atom bomb after the war.
At any rate viewers can create their own cut of the current Oppenheimer film if they get a seat behind a tall guy with big hair (note: this will not work at an Omnimax version with stadium type seating, as you have to see it in an old theater from the 20's like I did). Also one of the other posters suggested seeing Oppenheimer while wearing ear buds with the noise canceling feature on so you have some control on the audio mix. Or wait till it comes on TV.
Which is odd because we are just downslope and downwind from Los Explodos. Manhattan Project lore is large here. Part of the problem is that larger theater plexes are going under.
Not having seen it yet, I did read some reviews. Several stated that Nolan gives both this large complicated topic and man an even-handed treatment, which they find unusual for Nolan. Audiences are "trusted" (said one review) to make up their own minds, which most have done before going into it. Neither the Project nor the man are either/or simple entities.
It must have been very difficult to condense this into a 3-hour film, given the tome that was "American Prometheus", 2006 by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. One author compiled a huge amount of information from many sources; the other sorted it out into the book.
A famous photo of Oppenheimer was on a cover of Life magazine in 1958, taken by Philippe Halsman, a well known portraitist, and used for an article about the physicist:
"I have been haunted by those extraordinary Oppenheimer eyes, particularly by the pain, the hurt I find in them" - Philip Stern, author of "The Oppenheimer Case".
If you google up Magnum Photos Oppenheimer, you can read an article about the session between him and Halsman.
The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes is also a great way to get the whole story. It didn't get the Pulitzer Prize for nothing.
I've seen both. One is destined to become a classic.
I ended up seeing it with my kid. She's the exact demographic Barbie was targeting but has no interest.
It wasn't just about the Manhattan Project, but about Oppenheimer's dance with communists represented by a seductress--such a fitting embodiment of marxism. Ultimately, it became clear who seduced and destroyed whom.
The best depiction of the Oppenheimer story I have ever seen was the seven part miniseries done by the BBC, and aired on PBS' Masterpiece Theatre in the US. This was back in the 80's. I have the series on DVD, which I got from Amazon about 10 years ago. I just looked, and I no longer see it available. Being it was 7 parts, you have much more time to really develop the story. A typical 2 hour movie can never do the story justice.
I remember the series too. Checked and it's available.
The film is a different approach.
I liked it. It was an interesting story and the various and disparate characters were well portrayed (casting too). There should be numerous AA nominations for this, esp C. Murphy and R. Downey Jr. Two complaints: 1. The story frequently and suddenly jumps around in time although color and monochrome are used to help differentiate eras, I still found myself a little disoriented at times. 2. Sound was WAY too loud. Although this could be a specific theatre issue, Nolan has done similar in past films, notably "Interstellar", so I expect what I heard was intended. I saw this in a Dolby Atmos auditorium. Some reviewers have noted that Nolan used IMAX technology while filming so best presentation would be at an IMAX theatre. I can't imagine IMAX significantly bettering the Dolby presentation I saw.
...which is the main reason I won't be seeing Oppenheimer in a theater. I went to see "Barbie" yesterday--first time in a movie theater in several years. Very comfortable theater with spacious, reclining seats, great projection quality, food service at your seat if you wanted it. But, wow, the previews were deafening, and so was "Barbie." I kept my Airbuds Pro 2 in my ears, so noise canceling helped with the excessive volume. But my ears were ringing when I left.
So many actors and so many cross-examinations! A slower pace and less music would have helped...not disappointed though.
. . . we're having a disagreement as to whether to see it in Imax. I'd like to, but Ms. CfL says she gets headaches from watching Imax. So I will certainly have to give in on this argument! ;-)
We saw it in Imax today. Visually stunning, but the sound mix was loud AF.
Really good but not great, IMO.
BUT, I just came across a review from a guy who saw it in IMAX and couldn't stop raving about it. Hmm.
I hope Pugh doesn't get naked in the IMAX version.
Maybe we'll go with the 100% digital screening - that's more in accord with my music listening tastes too! ;-)
That's weird, cause I get headaches from watching Christopher Nolan movies.
"Trying is the first step towards failure."
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