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Movie Messages: The Oppenheimer Project

by | Aug 18, 2023 | Entertainment, Military Matters, Movie Review, Nuclear war, Sports | 0 comments

Christopher Nolan’s latest film “Oppenheimer” is rapidly climbing the charts. For those who only remember its namesake, J. Robert Oppenheimer as “the father of the atomic bomb,” there is more to this movie than things that go boom – even really big booms.

Based on the book “American Prometheus,” written by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, “Nolan’s film goes well beyond the Manhattan Project into the confused realm of politics and its abuse of science and scientists. Throw in war, arms race, military-industrial complex, science, spies, fame, greed and a whole lot of politics and you have a box office hit.

It’s always a gamble when the government latches onto something that rings up dollar signs. It’s not enough that federal and state governments can suck the profit out of a $25-plus trillion GDP through taxes, there’s also the issue of putting the money into all the right pockets.

An interesting character in “Oppenheimer” is Lewis Strauss, well played by Robert Downey Jr. who, in contrast, is used to being the hero-type (“Iron Man).” Portrayed as the one who assembled the Manhattan Project team and eventually the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Strauss humbly refers to himself as a “shoe salesman.”

Things heat up in the movie when Strauss goes after Oppenheimer, his No. 1 pick to head up the Manhattan Project. That project actually led to the use of nuclear energy for more peaceful things, beyond the intent of what bombs are supposed to yield. Strauss wanted to ride that wave but, unfortunately for the commissioner, Oppenheimer became the recipient of Strauss’s sought-after fame.

To discredit Oppenheimer, Strauss goes after the physicist’s security clearance.

It smacks a bit of how Washington went after another man for “colluding with Russia.” Innocent or otherwise, it’s a trespass that can haunt one for life.

The film is brilliantly done, mixing black and white footage with color and enough special effects to give audiences the feeling that the sun is exploding, along with everything else. There is sex, “who’s in charge” debates, and the subtle but massive role women wield in this crazy world of ours.

Give the movie as many stars as you feel appropriate, for there are plenty to go around.

Just a hint, it isn’t “Barbie.”