Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” Called “Best and Most Important Film This Century” By Another Film Legend
Finally having your film reviewed by critics is a necessary, often harrowing part of a filmmaker’s journey, when years’ worth of work is summed up and judged in a few hundred words. It can be thrilling, it can be devastating, and it can feel to many like a necessary evil. (You wouldn’t have trouble finding filmmakers who find critics unnecessary, of course.) Yet often the most satisfying praise a filmmaker can receive comes from their contemporaries. Sure, Christopher Nolan must have been happy to survey the media landscape after Oppenheimer had its world premiere in Paris and hailed it as one of his best films. We’d bet, however, the glowing praise he received from fellow filmmaker Paul Schrader, the man who wrote Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, among others, and directed his own work like in the excellent First Reformed, felt even better.
Schrader had this to say about Nolan’s latest on Facebook: “The best, most important film of this century. If you see one film in cinemas this year, it should be Oppenheimer. I’m not a Nolan groupie, but this one blows the doors off the hinges.”
It’s not for nothing to get such love from Schrader, a man not afraid to speak his mind, as evidenced in this great, recent profile of him in the New Yorker.
Nolan’s historical epic is centered on Cillian Murphy’s portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who led the Manhattan Project, the United States’ mad rush to build an atomic bomb, during World War II. After the film premiered in Paris, the first reactions were uniformly gushing. “A truly spectacular achievement,” “Fearsome,” and “A character study on the grandest scale.” Here’s a brief peek.
Christopher Nolan’s #Oppenheimer is truly a spectacular achievement, in its truthful, concise adaptation, inventive storytelling and nuanced performances from Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and the many, many others involved —- some just for a scene.
— Lindsey Bahr (@ldbahr) July 11, 2023
OPPENHEIMER is…incredible. The word that keeps coming to mind is “fearsome.” A relentlessly paced, insanely detailed, intricate historical drama that builds and builds and builds until Nolan brings the hammer down in the most astonishing, shattering way.
— Bilge Ebiri (@BilgeEbiri) July 11, 2023
#Oppenheimer left me stunned: a character study on the grandest scale, with a sublime central performance by Cillian Murphy. An epic historical drama but with a distinctly Nolan sensibility: the tension, structure, sense of scale, startling sound design, remarkable visuals. Wow
— Matt Maytum (@mattmaytum) July 11, 2023
As wonderful as it must feel to see all the hard work you, your cast, and your crew resonate so deeply with critics, to get the kind of love from a filmmaker like Schrader, somebody who has had his share of raves, as well as scathing reviews, must be especially sweet. More critics will be weighing in today, as the review embargo has been officially lifted.
Oppenheimer hits theaters on July 21.
For more on Oppenheimer, check out these stories:
Featured image: L to R: Robert Downey Jr is Lewis Strauss and Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.