Lawrence Stacey’s review published on Letterboxd:
The best film of the 2020s so far. Oppenheimer is up there with Nolan’s very best films and uses many of his typical tropes whilst also going to new heights in special effects and acting in his films.
Not enough can be said about the performances in this film particularly for Cilian Murphy and Robert Downey Junior who are ridiculously good and have to be the front runners for best actor and best supporting actor now. None of the performances in the film are really weak though and other supporting actors including Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon and Rami Malek were all cast so well. I think that Cilian Murphys Oppenheimer though is the best we’ve ever seen a single character been portrayed in a Nolan film. Bale as Batman was unbelievable but it took 3 films for his character to have as much depth as Oppenheimer does in one. His acting combined with the script develops him so well and his feelings about the creation of the bomb are shown in so many different ways from elation to complete regret.
Nolan’s insistence on not using CGI once again pays off here with certain practical scenes (particularly the test scene and speech scene and ending scene) actually making me grip to my chair because of their intensity. The realism of the film makes it feel all the more terrifying and to have made the whole thing very CGI would’ve been an injustice to the message of the film.
The pacing and plot structure also adds to the film very cleverly and the different timelines intercut with one another (as Nolan has done before in the prestige and Dunkirk) make the film constantly engaging by also making you question what thing in an earlier timeline contributed to something in a later timeline. It’s such an immersive way to make a film and Nolan’s editing team (which Nolan plays a huge part in) deserve so much praise.
Finally, Ludwig Goransson proves himself again as the best younger film composer and really manages to replicate Hans Zimmer in this film but in other films has felt more resemblantof Ennio Moriccone showing his versatility so well. I’ve already mentioned the final scene as one of the highlights but that wouldn’t have been possible without the music score which makes it feel so effective.
Oppenheimer is an unbelievable achievement that once again proves Nolan is one of the best (if not the best) film makers of the 21st century. As for the Barbenheimer double feature, I’d say watch this first because you need concentration, wait an hour then see Barbie. The fact they were released on the same day is just proof that CINEMA IS BACK.