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Oppenheimer’s dilemma

by Marc Lino Abila


Christopher Nolan’s 2023 biographical drama “Oppenheimer” features Cillian Murphy as J. The movie also stars Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek and Josh Hartnett. Robert Oppenheimer is the theoretical scientist who oversaw the Manhattan Project to produce the atomic bomb during World War II.

“Oppenheimer” is a visually stunning film, with Nolan’s trademark use of large-format cinematography and special effects to create a truly awe-inspiring spectacle.

The film’s performances are also top-notch, with Murphy delivering a nuanced and powerful portrayal of Oppenheimer. The film’s greatest strength is its exploration of the moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the development and use of the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer is a complex and contradictory figure, and the film does not shy away from his flaws. But it also shows him as a brilliant scientist who was deeply conflicted about the work he was doing.

The film’s central conflict is between Oppenheimer’s desire to create a weapon that could end the war quickly and save lives, and his fear of the devastating consequences of using such weapon. This conflict is exacerbated by the pressure from the US government to succeed, and by Oppenheimer’s own doubts about whether he is the right person to lead such project.

Other conflicts in the film include: the conflict between Oppenheimer and his mentor, Edward Teller, over the design of the atomic bomb; the conflict between Oppenheimer and the US government over the use of the atomic bomb against Japan; and the conflict within Oppenheimer himself between his scientific curiosity and his conscience.

The film can be seen as a reflection of the inherent contradictions of capitalism.

On the one hand, capitalism is a system that drives innovation and technological progress. The Manhattan Project is a prime example of this, as it was a massive undertaking that required the cooperation of thousands of scientists and engineers.

On the other hand, capitalism is also a system that is driven by profit and competition. This often leads to the development of new technologies that are primarily used for war and destruction. During its time, the atomic bomb was the ultimate example of this, as the weapon was developed to kill millions of people.

It also explores the conflict between science and the military. Oppenheimer was a scientist who believed that science should be used for the good of humanity. However, he found himself working on a project that was ultimately designed to create a weapon of mass destruction.

This conflict is reflected in the tension between Oppenheimer and Groves, the military director of the Manhattan Project. Groves was a man primarily concerned with developing the atomic bomb as quickly as possible. Oppenheimer, on the other hand, was more concerned with the ethical and moral implications of the project.

The conflict between Oppenheimer and Teller is one of the most significant conflicts in the film. Teller was a brilliant physicist who was one of the leading proponents of the thermonuclear bomb, also known as the hydrogen bomb.

Oppenheimer was initially opposed to the development of the thermonuclear bomb, arguing that it was too powerful and destructive. However, Teller and his supporters eventually convinced the US government to approve the development of the thermonuclear bomb.

The conflict between Oppenheimer and the US government is another significant conflict in the film. The US government was under immense pressure to develop the atomic bomb before the Nazis could develop it first. This pressure led the government to make some questionable decisions, such as using Japanese civilians as guinea pigs for testing the effects of radiation.

Oppenheimer was deeply conflicted about the use of the atomic bomb against Japan. He argued that the bomb should only be used as a last resort, and that the US government should try to negotiate a peace settlement with Japan instead. The US government ultimately decided to use the atomic bomb against Japan, and Oppenheimer was forced to comply.

The conflict within Oppenheimer himself is the most complex in the film. Oppenheimer was a brilliant scientist who was driven by a desire to understand the universe. However, he was also a deeply moral man who was troubled by the potential consequences of his work. He was haunted by the knowledge that the atomic bomb could be used to destroy millions of lives. This internal conflict is what makes Oppenheimer such a compelling character.

“Oppenheimer” is a powerful and thought- provoking film that explores the complex moral and ethical dilemmas surrounding the development and use of nuclear weapons. It is a must-see for anyone interested in history, science or ethics.

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