Oppenheimer review: Christopher Nolan’s biopic thriller is one of the best movies of the year – /Film

“Oppenheimer” presents its protagonist in crisis mode. He is studying abroad and he misses his home a lot, he can’t sleep and his teacher makes fun of him. This taunt leads the young scientist to do the unthinkable: poison the apple on the professor’s desk. It’s a risky way to introduce your main character, and Nolan is immediately pointing out Oppenheimer’s fractured state of mind: he’s brilliant but tormented, as if he’s constantly trying to solve some problem in his overactive mind. From here, Nolan is off to the races, jumping in and out of two different timelines. The main timeline, shot in color, is told entirely from Oppenheimer’s point of view, giving us the story as he saw it (or as Nolan, adapting Kai Bird’s “American Prometheus” Martin J. Sherwin, envisioned it to be). saw it).

The second timeline, shot in black and white, focuses on another character: Lewis Strauss, the former chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission, as he undergoes a post-Cabinet hearing in the 1950s. Played by Robert Downey Jr., Strauss is our window into a different view of Oppenheimer; a stranger looking in. Downey Jr., who has been too busy with Marvel stuff to appear in many other movies (except “Dolittle”), is electric in the role, swapping his usual manner for a more reserved and mysterious character. We can’t figure out what Strauss is about and why the movie focuses so much on him, and that’s because Nolan is playing the long game. He will eventually get there.

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