This summer, the world has experienced one of the most viral movie marketing schemes of all times: the Barbenheimer effect. Now, summer is almost over and box office figures have already proven the success of the two most famous cinema releases of this summer of 2023: Barbie and Oppenheimer. We decided that it’s time to see for ourselves and went to see Oppenheimer in IMAX this week to watch and learn from our fellow filmmakers.
Having received international attention as “the ultimate monster movie” (The Guardian), and the “great achievement in formal and conceptual terms” (The NY Times), director Christopher Nolan surely added to film history by this new release. The movie is accompanied by a masterful score and original soundtrack, puts actors’ and actresses’ genius performances on the big screen, and uses excellent cinematographic techniques.
Oppenheimer was shot completely analogue, in 65-mm film, which is projected in 70-mm to create an especially immersive effect. Due to its technical virtuosity and to its non-linear storytelling, this is a movie worth watching several times. Our favourite scene was the contrasts Nolan created in the scene after the atomic attacks with a whole lecture hall of people celebrating and applauding while Oppenheimer is visibly disturbed and starts to see the horrors of what he has enabled. In these scene, just as in other ones filled with tension, the walls behind him literally start shaking.
With movies of this length (180 minutes), it is an art to keep viewers engaged to the extent that they forget time. The movie captivated us while watching, especially by its engaging and multi-layered storyline and by the breathtaking scenes. It gave little details of the overall historical contexts, as the makers assumed most people to know about the historical facts surrounding WWII. Rather, it focused very much in detail on Oppenheimer’s career and life, which culminated in the building of the atomic bomb and the legal conflict and hearings following thereafter.
While acknowledging the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the US atomic attacks on Japan, the movie did not further elaborate on the other long-term consequences such as mutilations, diseases, etc. Footage was only re-staged of the testing of the bombs, and not of the actual attacks. The dangers and long-term consequences of atomic bombs is something we personally would have liked to see in a movie of this kind, as otherwise we risk forgetting about them or – worse – even glorifying such weapons of mass destruction.
To sum up, we passed an unforgettable time at the cinema, and were the last to leave the theater after the credits had ended. As filmmakers ourselves, we usually take the time to read all the credits and appreciate each of the crew’s contribution to such a masterful oeuvre. If you want to follow our own work, we invite you to subscribe to our YouTube, Vimeo, or social media, and stay tuned to this blog so you never miss out on news!