The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

Updates
The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

The student news site of Wayland High School

Wayland Student Press

Follow us on Instagram
Advertisement
From Jan. 19 to Feb. 2, Newton School District teachers demonstrated for a renewed and modified contract, which resulted in 11 days of canceled classes. Join WSPNs Reva Datar and Selena Liu as they interview Newton educators and students about the strike and its impact.
Newton educators and students reflect on record-breaking teacher strike
February 17, 2024
Stay Informed with WSPN With Our Newsletter

“Oppenheimer:” Yet another canvas for Christopher Nolan

WSPNs+Reva+Datar+reviews+Oppenheimer+by+Christopher+Nolan.
Credit: Alyssa Ao
WSPN’s Reva Datar reviews “Oppenheimer” by Christopher Nolan.

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for “Oppenheimer.”

When news of the film “Oppenheimer” dominated the internet weeks before its release, many were waiting with anticipation to see “Death, the destroyer of worlds.” The movie, directed by the renowned Christopher Nolan, was released in theaters on July 21, and the premature praise was mostly worth it.

The three-hour film is based on the 2005 autobiography, “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. The movie follows Oppenheimer, played by an intense Cillian Murphy, a theoretical physicist who invented the atomic bomb. The film captures his time as a student at the University of Cambridge and continues to the later years of his life, where he grapples with the true effects of his invention.

When it came to making a cinematic masterpiece, Nolan didn’t leave anything out. From filming in 65mm and alternating between colored and black-and-white scenes, the film certainly has a level of grandeur seen only in Nolan’s movies. Between the cinematography choices of the director and the emotional depth of the characters, psychologically, the movie is a sensation, just like so many of Nolan’s other films.

There are three main sections of Oppenheimer’s life that the movie focuses on. His time as a faculty member at University of California Berkeley, his work at Los Alamos and Oppenheimer’s hearing with US government officials based on his ties to the Communist Party.

When it came to Oppenheimer’s feelings of guilt, Nolan kept things abstract. We know Oppenheimer feels guilty about the weapon he has introduced, but we never really get inside of his head. The anguished looks on Murphy’s face never materialize into spoken thoughts or conversations with loved ones. While in some films this would be effective, in this biopic movie, I needed a bit more information.

In the third part of the film, black-and-white scenes come into play. While scenes with color are told from Oppenheimer’s perspective, scenes in black-and-white are told from Lewis Stauss’ perspective, the antagonist of Oppenheimer’s career played by Robert Downey Jr.. This artistic choice from Nolan was pretty genius and contributed to the emotional depth of the film. Based on the build-up of their rivalry throughout the movie up to the final moments, the plot is basically a tragic feud between the two men, which surprised me and made me wish for more information.

However, the biggest thing that bothered me was the portrayal of women in this film. Jean Tadlock, Oppenheimer’s first ‘love interest’ in the movie is oversexualized, and portrayed as crazy and desperate for Oppenheimer’s love. Other, more interesting facts about her, like how she was a psychiatrist with a degree from Stanford, are overlooked. The same can be said about Oppenheimer’s wife Katherine “Kitty” Puening. She is an intelligent biologist who is solely portrayed as an alcoholic. None of this is surprising. After all, Nolan’s movies are never about women. However, I was disappointed that such key figures of Oppenheimer’s life weren’t given the thoroughness they deserved in the lengthy film.

People my age aren’t familiar with the effects of World War II. Obviously, we weren’t there when it happened, but we also never saw the fall of the Soviet Union, the happenings of the Cold War or the fall of the Berlin Wall. You won’t get much information about World War II from this film. Instead, you’ll get a much more intimate story about the main character’s complex feelings.

Walking out of the movie theater, I was juggling feelings of wonder, awe and curiosity, as well as confusion about scenes that Nolan decided to vaguely show instead of tell. However, the quality of the film and acting was superb overall. I’d rate this movie a 8/10.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wayland High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, cover our annual website hosting costs and sponsor admission and traveling costs for the annual JEA journalism convention.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Reva Datar, Opinion Editor
Reva Datar, Class of 2025, is a third year reporter and opinion editor for WSPN. She does Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu. Outside of school, she enjoys reading, writing, baking and traveling with friends. Contact: [email protected]
Alyssa Ao, Co-Graphics Editor
Alyssa Ao, Class of 2025, is a co-graphics editor for WSPN. She is also one of the Math Team captains and co-president of the Art Club. Outside of school, she enjoys art, playing piano and watching TV. Contact: [email protected]
Donate to Wayland Student Press
$0
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Wayland Student Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *