Explosive early reactions to Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic “Oppenheimer” set the Internet ablaze.
The film hosted its world premiere in Paris shortly before the cast walked out of the UK premiere during the announcement of the SAG-AFTRA strike on 14 July. the atomic bomb, J. Robert Oppenheimer. Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon and Robert Downey Jr. are part of the all-star cast.
Writer-director Nolan used real explosions instead of CGI to mimic the first detonation of the atomic bomb during the Trinity Test. The entire film was shot in IMAX. “Oppenheimer” is inspired by the 2005 book “American Prometheus” by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin and centers on Manhattan Project leader J. Robert Oppenheimer (Murphy) as he deals with the moral repercussions of creating the bomb.
Murphy’s co-star Damon called his performance something of a “marathon” to balance the genius physicist’s academic and personal life. And critics agree: Empire magazine editor Nick de Semlyen tweeted, “’Oppenheimer’ is a roaring beast of a movie, largely set in research labs but feeling like an odyssey into hell. Cillian Murphy is mesmerizing and Nolan is in full force; it appears that the film itself becomes poisoned with radiation as it goes on. A grim triumph.”
Criterion writer Christina Newland added: “Cillian Murphy is truly amazing here. I’m just operating at such a level of frailty, obsessed knowledge, and cocky bravado; a performance as complex as the subject deserves.”
New York Magazine critic Bilge Ebiri called the film “incredible” and cited its “appalling” approach to weighty subject matter. “A relentlessly paced, insanely detailed and intricate historical drama that builds and builds and builds until Nolan brings down the hammer in the most startling and shocking way,” Ebiri tweeted.
Playlist columnist Gregory Ellwood specifically cited the respective performances of Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr., saying Downey notably gave career bests. AP film writer Lindsey Bahr wrote that she was “lucky” to see “Oppenheimer” in 70mm IMAX, which was “a once in a lifetime experience”.
Scroll to see Oppenheimer’s reactions and click here for full details on the film, in theaters July 21.