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As someone who read both American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer and The Making of the Atomic Bomb it was almost certain I would go see Oppenheimer on the big screen. In the end I went to the biggest screen in Edinburgh — my first experience of IMAX too.

There are (I think) no spoilers below.

This film was at turns immersive, impressive and just occasionally infuriating. I predict a best supporting actor nomination for Robert Downey Jr who was superb throughout and a real treat to see him acting once again. I’ll be gobsmacked if Cillian Murphy eyes don’t receive a best actor nomination given how much they carry the film. It was suggested that the two female leads were under-used and, in the case of Florence Pugh this might just be the case, but Emily Blunt’s contribution, although limited, is significant.

As a Brit I was a bit annoyed that they gave the impression that the British scientists turned-up late in the programme (bringing along Klaus Fuchs) rather than starting a bomb programme first with the Tube Alloys project. It’s a nit-picking detail though.

This is a disturbing film; one that can be troubling for days after the first viewing. If we apply the test that great art is something that moves us to reflection it easily passed that test.

PS. Edinburgh has some great cinemas but I now also want to watch more films — not blockbusters — on the IMAX screen.

Posted on August 14, 2023   #Movie  

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