Are you waiting for the film Oppenheimer with bated breath? The film’s plot has Cillian Murphy portraying the role of the father of the atomic bomb, J Robert Oppenheimer. The film is set to release on July 21, 2023, and it raises many questions about the man! Read the article before you go to watch the movie.
The film’s subject, J Robert Oppenheimer, was a theoretical physicist who created the first atomic bombs. The film follows the journey of the renowned physicist from being happy with the test’s success to the operation of the Manhattan Project in World War II, only to experience guilt later.
The film by Christopher Nolan will bring to the forefront the extensive damage due to the successful creation of atomic bombs. It will explore the complexity of the character of Oppenheimer and his life concerning the Manhattan Project laboratory.
There have been other books, television series, feature films, and documentaries exploring the life and work of the scientist. Yet, this film will be different and noteworthy. Nolan is known for his dark hero representation, and Oppenheimer is no exception!
Oppenheimer From Real To Reel: Interesting Things To Know!
One of the most important figures in the 20th century, J. Robert Oppenheimer, has created history. Oppenheimer is the subject of Christopher Nolan’s new movie. Now the question is why Christopher Nolan is making a movie about the renowned scientist. The character of Oppenheimer is tailor-made for the movies, guys!
The man contributed to the creation of the world-altering weapon and excitedly put it in the hands of the government to kill lakhs of people. He then cried to President Truman, saying, “Mr. President, I have blood on my hands.” It displayed contrasting emotions within the gap of two months.
Let’s face it, people, that is a man with multiple shades within him. So how can Nolan let go of such an opportunity of exploring one of the darkest minds in history on screen? Enlighten the audience with the complexities of the human mind once again after giving hits such as ‘Inception,’ ‘Tenet,’ ‘Interstellar’ and others.
Who Is Oppenheimer?
The physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer was born in 1904 New York City in a secular Jewish Family. He got his education at the Ethical Culture School in Manhattan. In just three years, he graduated from Harvard with summa cum laude. Oppenheimer was a child prodigy who was well-versed in Latin, Greek, and Philosophy at the age of 9.
He pursued a graduate degree from the University of Cambridge, where he suffered from mental health issues. He was also invited to the New York Mineralogy Club to give a lecture at the age of 12. Even though he was a genius, he suffered from awkwardness and social anxiety during adolescence.
Oppenheimer was forced into lab work by the experimented physicist leading to his underperforming. A hint of his dark inclinations regarding human lives can be found at an early age when he laced an apple with poisonous chemicals and placed it on the desk of his advisor, physicist Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett. He ended up on probation!
The man has some serious violent emotional impulses. No way was he was enjoying himself when he successfully created the atomic bomb and planned the dropping off! “Don’t let it go up, or the target won’t get as much damage,” were his words during the planning, according to a report by The Atlantic in 1995.
What Was Oppenheimer Doing When World War II Started?
When World War II broke in 1939, the physicist was already a well-established and respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley. He was the perfect example of eccentricity with his hunger for intellectual growth and development.
A physicist who read Elizabethan poetry and Sanskrit made great martini and rode horses, Robert Oppenheimer was the perfect example of an unconventional professor. His interest in politics developed when he met Jean Tatlock, who was a due-paying member of the Communist Party.
According to the Atomic Heritage Foundation, Oppenheimer might be sympathetic toward the Communist goals; however, he never officially joined the party. Yet there were rumors, and at one point, he was under suspicion of being a communist.
Many people close to him, such as his friend, Haakon Chevalier, his brother Frank Oppenheimer along with his wife Kitty, were all communists. The FBI tried to evaluate the physicist’s position as a communist and label him over the years, yet failed.
It was Lewis Strauss whose perspectives were highlighted concerning addressing Oppenheimer as a communist threat to the country. It led to a panel evaluating and determining whether the security clearance of the physicist should be revoked. The accusations were completely bogus.
The film ‘Oppenheimer,’ at one point shows view of Strauss, which is in black and white, showing a claustrophobic perspective and deliberation of a competitor. A sense of doom persists throughout the movie’s black-and-white scenes, which reflects the haunting of the actions about to take place later in the film.
1. Oppenheimer’s Colorful Love Life
Even though Oppenheimer was shy by nature and had a calm demeanor, he had quite a colorful life with the ladies. His wife, Kitty Oppenheimer, married Richard Harrison, the physician when Oppenheimer first met her. She was Kitty Harrison, at that time, a journalist. They eloped and married!
Yet, Oppenheimer had several affairs throughout his marriage to her. He dated communist Jean Tatlock and a professor and psychologist named Ruth Sherman Tolman.
2. The Attack On Hiroshima And Nagasaki
Albert Einstein wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt about “a new type of extremely powerful bombs” three years before. In 1942, President Roosevelt recruited Oppenheimer for a secret project. The project drew all the scientists across the country, and the purpose was to build one of these bombs before Germany.
The top physicists of the US were outlining possible bombs, and Oppenheimer ended up managing all of them. His leadership was quite something, and some of them were jealous. Lelie Groves was the army general who took over the Manhattan Project as the head. He put Oppenheimer in charge.
The physicist learned how to run a lab and became a significant leader in creating the initial design of the bomb; however, it was scrapped in July 1944. He had a very soft voice but a magnetic presence creating a team who created an atomic bomb leading to the first nuclear detonation on July 16, 1945.
Named the Trinity test, the atomic bomb became a success. Oppenheimer lost a lot of weight during the project and was known to recite lines from Bhagavad Gita. One of his popular recitations is, “now, I am becoming Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
On August 6, 1945, an atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, while three days later, another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. There is an estimate of the deaths from the two bombings around 210,000. It led the emperor of Japan to surrender on August 15, 1945.
3. Did Oppenheimer Have A Change Of Heart Ever?
In October 1945, Oppenheimer went to President Harry S. Truman and told him, “Mr. President, I feel I have blood on my hands.” Truman reportedly replied, “The blood was on my hands, let me worry about that.” The aftermath of the atomic bombings had already transformed Oppenheimer; however, the president was unhappy.
In an article by Steven Shapin in 2000, Truman instructed his lieutenants that he did not want to see Oppenheimer in his offices, “Don’t let that crybaby in here again.” As a scientist, the physicist realized the gravity of the actions leading to opposing the US in expanding their nuclear arsenal.
He became one of the fiercest advocates to oppose the plan by the US government to create more powerful hydrogen bombs; however, the genie was already out of the box. The father of the atomic bomb was helpless as he had himself handed the weapon of mass destruction!
History Behind The Film, Oppenheimer
The film Oppenheimer has been based on the book called American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy. Martin J Sherwin and Kai Bird wrote the biopic, and it won a Pulitzer Prize-winning book.
The book revolves around the mastermind who spearheaded the operation during World War II, ultimately making it possible for Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be bombed. Hollywood A-listers such as Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, and Matt Damon were the Oppenheimer cast in the film.
Fans are quite intrigued with the film and the conceptualization, especially with all the launches of trailers and interviews surrounding the film.
Interesting Facts About The Film, Oppenheimer
Christopher Nolan is a leading filmmaker in the 21st century known for his complex storytelling and blockbuster hits, earning accolades and awards. He has chosen Oppenheimer to be his character in the film by the same, and clearly, he is not a simple character.
- The director informed in one of his interviews with Total Film magazine that this film is one of his longest films which exceeds the 3-hour time frame. It beats Nolan’s Interstellar, which was 2 hours 49 minutes.
- A large film format has been used in the film ‘Oppenheimer’ just like Nolan’s other films ‘Tenet‘ and ‘Dunkirk’! Panavision 65mm and IMAX 65mm, some of the highest-resolution cameras, have been used to shoot the movie. Talk about setting standards.
Why Oppenheimer, The Film Is Different?
- The film has been shot in color. Meanwhile, the film’s parts are in black and white. The director informed in an interview that black and white has been used to show objective perception and timeline of a particular character. The bulk of the film is in color, where the subjective experience is the focus.
- Kodak developed the black and white sections of the film as the first ever black and white IMAX film produced by Fotokem. Nolan wanted the black-and-white portion to be the same quality as that of the colored sections in the movie.
- The trinity test is the nuclear explosion, which was the most difficult scene to recreate, considering a nuclear explosion cannot be a regular event. Yet, Nolan took the challenge of recreating the explosion without computer graphics. The director has informed us that he used as little CGI as possible for the film.
- Nolan’s perspective of using fewer computer graphics is to keep it as authentic as possible. He wanted to represent elements of quantum physics and quantum dynamics in the film, especially in the Trinity test, so he consulted with his visual effects supervisor from early on.
Cast Of Oppenheimer
- Cillian Murphy plays Oppenheimer, the character in the film, and he says it terrified him when he first read the script. He went on to say that he has been doing it for 25 years, and if he feels anxious, insecure, and nervous, he will do it.
- The film’s cast and crew stayed together in New Mexico for the entire production time. According to the director, the extraordinary weather of New Mexico was needed for the film. Emily Blunt, who plays the role of Kitty Oppenheimer, the wife of Robert Oppenheimer, said to People Magazine that it felt like a “summer camp.”
- However, several of the cast members of ‘Oppenheimer’ revealed that actor Cillian Murphy did not get involved in the group activities and mostly stayed away. Matt Damon said to People Magazine that Murphy had too much on his plate to have dinner with the whole cast.
- Hollywood A-listers like Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Rami Malek, Florence Pugh, Jack Quaid, Jason Clarke, Kenneth Branagh, David Betucci, and others are in this movie. An interesting fact, who plays Harry S. Truman in the film? None other than Gary Oldman!
- Robert Downey Jr. plays Lewis Strauss, the biggest nemesis of ‘Oppenheimer. He is the perfect actor to support Murphy in scenes based on US government hearings in the 1950s. The courtroom dramas will be electric, especially with the shrewd and insecure Strauss trying to accuse Oppenheimer of a communist threat.
- Christopher Nolan had a fallout with Warner Brothers in September 2021, leading to Universal Studios becoming the production house to distribute ‘Oppenheimer.’ It will be the first film by Nolan that the Warner Brothers will not be producing.
The Oppenheimer release date is this Friday!
The real-to-reel transformation of Oppenheimer provoked many questions over the centuries regarding the morality of the human race. Do you think Oppenheimer was a psychopath enjoying the process of creating the atomic bomb and dropping it on lakhs of people? Or was he just a scientist excited about his discovery?
Being the father of the atomic bomb is a legacy, or is it a curse Oppenheimer had to carry for as long as he lived, and now the governments worldwide have become monsters, using the curse to destroy others?
Is that what Nolan is doing? Highlighting the darkness that rides the human race and their mind toward self-destruction? Comment below to let us know your preference for Oppenheimer’s actions and whether you will watch the film.