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OPINION: ‘Oppenheimer’ retains fan faith in film director

OPINION: ‘Oppenheimer’ retains fan faith in film director

By Emmanuel Reyes Corona
Bridge Staff Podcaster

Published Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023

“They won’t fear it until they understand it. And they won’t understand it until they’ve used it.” These words marked a turning point in World War II, a pivotal historical moment. They also resonated with my encounter with cinematic brilliance.

As a devoted Christopher Nolan fan, I eagerly awaited the silver screen debut of Oppenheimer for years. Despite not having explored Nolan’s earlier masterpieces—Inception (2010), Interstellar (2014), Dunkirk (2017)—I was familiar with his style, work ethic and passion for cinema. The announcement of screenings gave me the chance to secure my ticket, and I eagerly anticipated my journey into the cinema.

Emmanuel Reyes Corona portrait
Emmanuel Reyes Corona

As the film began, I found myself both prepared and unprepared for the ensuing three hours. Would it live up to the acclaim from critics and audiences, etching an unforgettable memory? Or would it falter, squandering its immense potential and tarnishing the reputation of one of our era’s greatest directors? Within hours, these questions found answers.

Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of Oppenheimer was exceptional. His subtle gestures and intense immersion into the character’s psyche underscored his prowess as one of today’s foremost actors. Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and the ensemble cast delivered equally outstanding performances, imbuing their characters with depth and authenticity.

The film’s three-hour narrative was seamless, thanks to the editing prowess of Jennifer Lame. She expertly wove three distinct storylines into a cohesive narrative, maintaining tension and momentum throughout. The Trinity sequence transformed the film into a magnificent thriller.

Nolan’s script, though occasionally marred by expositional challenges, was a crowning achievement. It provided insight into Oppenheimer’s inner conflicts, ambition and the pressure of monumental achievements. The film adhered to historical accuracy, crediting meticulous production and costume design.

Visually, Hoyte Van Hoytema exceeded expectations. The film’s presentation in IMAX and 70mm formats was awe-inspiring, with exquisite compositions, even lighting and a thoughtful color palette.

The auditory experience, including Ludwig Göransson’s score, significantly enhanced the film’s impact. Göransson’s compositions resonated deeply, complementing the film’s energy.

In summary, Oppenheimer justified the positive reviews and word-of-mouth, confirming Nolan’s commitment to the cinematic experience. It reinforced the need for films crafted with an understanding of both the audience and the medium.

However, apprehensions arise as Oppenheimer premiered during an ongoing writer’s strike and the outset of an actor’s strike, indicating an industry in flux. The industry’s reliance on sequels and franchises poses challenges. The fear of whether more films like Oppenheimer will be produced, daring to embrace original, compelling narratives, lingers. Yet, we must place trust in artists and the industry, striving for the fear to dissipate.

Oppenheimer embodies the essence of those initial words. We redeemed our tickets, comprehending both the craftsmanship and historical significance of the film. Now, apprehensions about the future of cinema loom. But, as long as Oppenheimer exists, hope endures for the industry and its artists. Fear can be overcome.

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