Breaking News
  • Prom and UIL District Competitions are on April 6
  • Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year!
Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Oppenheimer Review – An Explosive Experience


One of this year’s most anticipated movies, Oppenheimer, was released in theaters on July 21, 2023. Directed by one of the most treasured visionaries, Christopher Nolan, this film was adapted from the historical novel American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. Oppenheimer was the physicist tasked with the Manhattan Project, specifically the
innovation of the world’s first atomic bomb.

Please be aware that this film is Rated R. It contains the following mature themes: nudity, frequent drinking and smoking (it’s the 1930s-1950s), violence, and mature language. It is recommended for seniors 18+, or students whose parents allow them to watch R-rated movies. Lastly, this article will contain spoilers and commentary on the film so read at your own risk!

As a history nerd, the news of this film’s release excited me from day one. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire three-hour run of this movie. It is a star-studded cast, with some faces you’d never expect to see in a serious movie. Though, these cameos don’t take away from the intense and gritty storytelling of Oppenheimer’s life and his infamous creation.

The film begins with an overlooked 22-year-old university student Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), who struggles with intense anxiety. Young Oppenheimer is grappling with the lab requirements in his class while also dealing with his burdensome professor, Patrick Blackett. Oppenheimer is continuously humiliated in his class by his professor. He goes to lace Blackett’s apple with poison after the humiliation. The next day, a regretful Oppenheimer rushes to prevent his professor from eating the apple, when he sees his idol, Neihls Bohr, meeting with Blackett. As he sees his idol pick up the apple, he smacks it into the trash with the excuse, “Wormhole” to rectify the situation.

I think that starting the movie this way is a nod to the moral fight Oppenheimer faces throughout the film. It shows how Oppenheimer can make the most immoral decisions, yet is self-aware enough to feel regretful and fix whatever mess he creates. I also think that the “wormhole” excuse being written in was very clever. It is a joke for physicists as a wormhole is a hypothetical structure that connects certain points in spacetime.

The film touches upon multiple aspects of Oppenheimer’s life, including his marriage to Kitty
Oppenheimer (Emily Blunt), his affair with Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh), his time as a college professor, and the trial of his security clearance.

One of the most interesting parts of the movie to me was the main plot of the Manhattan Project which took place in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Oppenheimer had a ranch there and knew it was remote enough to hold this super secret operation. A town was built for all of the scientists to live in, and they spent three years in Los Alamos, until the testing of the bomb, the Trinity test, was successful.

After the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Oppenheimer was named “the father of the atomic bomb” and gained immense popularity. However, he openly opposed the use of the bomb in the media and even referred to it as the “gadget” to distance himself from this tragedy. He knew what his creation would be used for and that it would end the war, but he felt extremely guilty and responsible for the death of so many civilians.

The most stressful part of the movie was the controversial legal fight that Oppenheimer was in regarding his security clearance. Oppenheimer was connected to the communist party in the midst of WWII, and his loyalty to the Atomic Energy Commission’s General Advisory Council was questioned. As a nuclear physicist for the American government, his clearance being taken away meant that he wouldn’t be able to work in government or politics anymore. This section of the movie was extremely intense, and I loved the feeling in the theater.

My favorite aspects of the film were definitely the cinematography and the music. I liked how the film was able to jump between different points in Oppenheimer’s life within seconds of each other. For example, if it was in black in white, it was referring to the security clearance trial. The most noteworthy cinematography to me was the scene that showed the bomb test. At this point in time, the scientists didn’t know if the bomb would end the world because it was so powerful. To visualize the explosion, viewers could see beautiful flames in silence, and the sound of the bomb was purposely delayed. Everyone seemed to feel relieved that the test was successful. There were also some beautiful compositions from Swedish composer, Ludwig Göransson, with the most popular being “Can You Hear The Music”.

Overall, I completely enjoyed this film. Nolan was able to encapsulate the entire story of Oppenheimer’s life, especially the height of his career. I recommend this movie for those who like historical adaptations, and for those who want to watch something new. You can view Oppenheimer in theaters, as it is not yet available on streaming platforms.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Layah Eastmond
Layah Eastmond, Staff Reporter
Current Senior, Layah Eastmond, a first time staffer on the LTHS Newspaper team, completed the Vanguard News internship a year prior. Originally from California, Eastmond grew up watching shows like Stranger Things which inspired her to get into acting. She plans to travel abroad to Europe after graduation in order to pursue a future career in the acting/entertainment field. She is currently a part of the Varsity cheer team and in her free time, works at a popular French Bistro. Eastmond specializes in writing timely pieces, ranging from reviewing events in the media to writing about current school events going on at LT.  Contact: l[email protected]

Comments (0)

All The Vanguard Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *