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Oppenheimer review – Nolan’s atom bomb epic is flawed but extraordinary

Christopher Nolan’s account of the physicist who led the Manhattan Project captures the most agonising of success stories The wartime Soviet intelligence services had a codename for the Manhattan Project, the US’s plan to build an atom bomb: Enormoz. Christopher Nolan’s new film about it is absolutely Enormoz, maybe his biggest so far: a gigantic, post-detonation study, a PTSD narrative procedure filling the giant screen with a million agonised fragments that are the shattered dreams and memories of the project’s haunted, complex driving force, J Robert Oppenheimer, a brilliant physicist with the temperament of an artist who gave humanity the means of its own destruction. The main event is that terrifying first demonstration: the Trinity nuclear test in the New Mexico desert in July 1945, when Oppenheimer is said to have silently pondered (and later intoned on TV) Vishnu’s lines from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds …” Continue reading...

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