Letter to the Editor


Editor’s Note: This letter contains one possible spoiler about the “Oppenheimer” film.

“Oppenheimer,” the film, is a three-hour long hot and muddled mess, burdened by conflicting and confusing story lines. Some of it written in stream of consciousness, other parts in narrative with a bit of Kubrick’s 2001 thrown in to justify the IMAX showings.

With no traditional beginning, middle and end, the film’s opening title, “Oppenheimer” curiously only appears at the end of the film.

The performances are uneven as is the dialog. Tom Conti does an excellent job as Einstein. So does Robert Downey, Jr. as Lewis Strauss. Cillian Murphy’s interpretation of Oppenheimer is a bit of a caricature. He acts more with his eyes and less through his body. The lead female roles, acted by Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt, are unfortunately portrayed as one-dimensional — dark, angry, and drunk.

What is this film about? The development of the atomic bomb? The despair of the bomb makers? Japan? WW2? Communism and the red scare? Los Alamos and Trinity sites? Patriotism? All the above and none of the above as well as a few other themes stirred into the pot! This film needs an editor and an edit, and you need a master’s degree in that period’s history.

The power of visiting the closed Trinity site, touching its stone monument, running one’s hands over the embedded and still radioactive glass beads strewn across the desert floor and the beauty and monumental quality of the site is not on display here. I know. I’ve been there twice. The most intriguing moment of the film comes at the very end, when, out of nowhere, JFK is tied to the plot’s resolution. Really????!!!

Watch MSNBC’s excellent Oppenheimer documentary, “To End All War: Oppenheimer & The Atomic Bomb,” first and then this hot mess second, third and fourth! Bring plenty of water and possibly some oxygen. Good luck.

2 Thumbs Down/1 Thumb Up

— Allen Swerdlowe

Allen Swerdlowe, Architect and Fulbright Specialist, lived in Weston for 27 years. He is the former chair of the Building Committee. He currently resides in New Canaan where he is a Commissioner of Planning and Zoning. Allen’s film for the Discovery Channel, “Journeys to Remember,” a documentary about an incident that takes place off the Irish Coast in preparation for D-Day, has been screened at the Weston Historical Society and played for a month on the Discovery Channel. His father’s work on the Manhattan Project and relationship with Robert Oppenheimer is the subject of a screenplay, “The American Son,” which was considered for production by Paramount Pictures. His father Nathan died of plutonium induced cancer in 1958.

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