A Letter to Classic Film Fans: Two people's reaction to "Oppenheimer."
I go to the movies often with my friend Dan. On Monday July 24, 2023, we saw
"Oppenheimer (2023).” When we walked out of the AFI Silver, we were astounded and amazed. We talked over and over about the movie, and didn’t really cement our feelings until the next day.
I was impressed with the artistry of Nolan’s latest work. But afterwards, I felt as if I had been A-bombed. The first two acts are mind bending. Looking inside Oppenheimer’s mind was portrayed as an LSD trip. There were flashbacks and flash forwards, nudity, and all time, Oppenheimer’s (Cillian Murphy) sad face remained as he portrayed the genius who led a mix of workers and grouchy scientists to make the world’s first atomic bomb. But I left shell-shocked and hungry, after this three-hour ordeal.
Looking back, I likened seeing the movie to going to the largest Hieronymus Bosch exhibit ever assembled. It’s fascinating but not enjoyable, and it’s way beyond a learning experience.
Dan enjoyed many of the aspects of the film. It was too long for his taste. He found a lot to be admired in the film---acting, sets, cinematography, and story, but the sound design made it difficult for him to understand who was talking and what the actors were saying. He experienced difficulty distinguishing between the cast. All the scientists looked similar to him, and the roles of the various scientists were not developed.
He found the characters and the film strangely cold. Nolan packed the whole 800-page book into the film which resulted in a run time of three hours. While Dan admired the film and loved watching it on the large screen, he probably wouldn’t sit at home and watch it on his small-screen television.
Dan was moderately enthusiastic about the movie but he recalled that I did not like the first 2 acts of the film and we agreed the film could be edited and made less tedious. So, for those of you who haven’t yet seen it, we caution you to bring a lunch and drink coffee.