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180 min.
Christopher Nolan
Drama, Biography, History
Rating *
Votes *
9.5% (1:11)
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. baraka92's avatar


    The first 2 hours are probably the best stuff Nolan has ever done. A thrilling take on science (that oddly, feels very spiritual at times) and its dangerous potential. This is no Frankenstein. That’s the best part; it did happen and the threat won’t go away anytime soon.
    It leaves other sappy biopics like The Theory of Everything in the dust.

    The last hour, isn’t bad and remains interesting but deals with topics that feel more mundane and less trascendental. Stuff that we’ve seen many times before. And what’s worse, it affects the pacing of the whole movie.
    At least, it kinda recovers on the closing scene. Chilling!

    I agree with critics that think Nolan still can’t write female characters (their point is utilitarian to the story) and it’s frustrating that this could be better and shorter, but overall, it remains an amazing achievement.
    7 months 2 weeks ago
  2. MrW's avatar


    I find it hard to go back to some of Nolan's previous films these days, as I find some of his filmmaking quirks - particularly his propulsive editing style and fondness for brute-force loudness - to be frustrating and even exhausting. I think Dunkirk addressed some of that with its temporal trickery, but Tenet - perhaps his worst film for a plethora of reasons - was maybe the worst offender yet.

    Which is important context, as I think it's exactly that particular style - flaws and all - that makes Oppenheimer work. Indeed, a time-hopping biopic is if anything the perfect fit for Nolan's restless storytelling style. Here, it drives forward and jumps from scene to scene with relentless forward momentum, only really slowing down for some killer extended scenes where everything comes together or simmering tension is allowed to boil over and erupt. Matched with the clever choice to switch between black & white and colour to illustrate the film's two key perspectives, this feels like Nolan turning what has been a filmmaking weakness of his into a strength. The sparing use of expressionistic effects shot is also very well done - beautiful images often staying on screen for just a second as a note of emphasis or warning.

    Ditto his tendency to 'go loud'. This is another film seemingly designed to blow the speakers off, but it does so in a much more elegant way. The dialogue is suitably snappy and speedy, the ideas allowed to overwhelm and overlap. Göransson's soundtrack builds and builds and builds, only for Nolan to suddenly drain sequences of sound completely. The interplay between noise and silence is tremendously well done, and a reminder that good cinematic sound design is often defined by restrained use of total quiet. Oh, and the recurring use of foot-stomping, building up to maybe the film's best scene, is magnificent.

    The film is admirably blunt about the moral contradictions of the story: this is not afraid to call out the unspeakable evil that is the use of the nuclear bomb (the film's biggest villain is almost certainly Harry S Truman), while also embracing the rush of scientific discovery and accomplishment. Of course, the film ultimately is very much in the 'existential dread' camp, but it certainly does get at the humanity behind these momentous and some might say apocalyptic decisions.

    Murphy is of course great, as are most of the ensemble, even those who don't really have much time to do anything. I was almost inclined to say Emily Blunt is underused here, but she has one scene that's so good later on that you're inclined to almost retrospectively forgive Nolan for keeping her on the bench up to that point.

    I can see some of the structural decisions turning people off. This is a long film that becomes almost a second film at the two-hour mark. It takes a while to settle back in, and an already talky film grows even talkier at that point. I think the destination is ultimately worth a somewhat jarring swerve to get there - but it's definitely a big ask at a point when some audience members may be thinking about when they'll get to pee. Also, Nolan doesn't always do subtle - there are moments here it's fair to say are very, very on the nose.

    But overall, I liked it a whole lot - in many ways, the most accomplished and consistent film Nolan has made since a lot earlier in his career. It is, in some ways, an unusual fit for a summer blockbuster - there are a lot of close-ups of people talking in rooms here. But that stuff can look as good as any big action setpiece, and in a way it's refreshing to see Nolan use a big cinematic canvas to tell a story that shifts so seamlessly between the historically monumental and the brutal intimacy of the people making those decisions.
    6 months 2 weeks ago
  3. MetaBull's avatar


    It has some pacing issues, and parts that sag in at times, but overall it was good. The acting of Murphy and Downey is on point. A bit of humor works wonders with Damon as the general as well.

    And I realize most Americans can't point out The Netherlands on a map, but the language Murphy speaks in "Leiden" is anything but Dutch.
    6 months 4 weeks ago
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In 11 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #2 in IMDb's 2020s Top 50
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    IMDb's 2020s Top 50

  2. This movie ranks #4 in IMDb's Biography Top 50
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    IMDb's Biography Top 50

  3. This movie ranks #5 in IMDb's History Top 50
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    IMDb's History Top 50

  4. This movie ranks #19 in iCheckMovies's 2020s Top 100
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  5. This movie ranks #49 in IMDb's Drama Top 50
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    IMDb's Drama Top 50

  6. This movie ranks #62 in Box Office Mojo's All Time Worldwide Box Office
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  7. This movie ranks #78 in BAFTA Award - Best Film
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    BAFTA Award - Best Film

  8. This movie ranks #85 in IMDb's Top 250
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    IMDb's Top 250

  9. This movie ranks #158 in Golden Globe Award - Best Motion Picture
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  10. This movie ranks #389 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
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  11. This movie ranks #601 in Academy Award - Best Picture Nominees
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