(July 31)  Unless you want to spend the rest of your life wanting the return of three wasted hours, stay away from the movie Oppenheimer. It’s a ponderous, turgid mess.

The film also is ethically confused at its very best, and it adopts Hollywood’s tiresome and obsessive pessimism. Trendy leftist entertainment insists that we live in the worst of possible worlds, that the United States is little better than the rest of that bad world, and that benighted humanity is hurtling toward human-caused doom.

Let’s temporarily set aside the thematic and philosophical problems, though, and first assess Oppenheimer as entertainment, or rather as lack thereof. It seems nobody in Hollywood can tell a straightforward story anymore, and director Christopher Nolan is particularly prone to the conceit that jumping back and forth in time and between narratives somehow keeps his movies interesting.

In this case, the needlessly dizzying “story,” such as it is, jump-cuts back and forth among five distinct phases of the scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s life: his rise as a young physics scholar and libidinous leftist, his management of the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bombs, and three post-war hearings — one in which he advocates the international sharing of nuclear knowledge while arrogantly belittling those who disagree, one in which his security clearance is at risk of being revoked because of suspected communist sympathies, and one in which, years later, the nomination of an enemy of his for secretary of commerce is in jeopardy because the nominee had rigged the security-clearance hearing against Oppenheimer.

If that prior sentence seems overstuffed, it mirrors the movie. The plot’s turgidity would have been bothersome even if told chronologically. All the jumps back and forth in time make the plot, or what passes for a plot, not just confusing but an affront. … [To read more, including why the movie is thematically dishonest to the point of offensiveness, follow this link.]


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