Game-changing movie about a world-changing invention

First, let me get this off my chest: Christopher Nolan’s masterful biopic about the man behind the development of the atomic bomb opened simultaneously around the world in July of last year.

Except in Japan.

Okay, a certain lag time is not unexpected for film releases over here, but it takes no great political acumen to deduce that this delay had less to do with ticket sales than political sensitivity. With each passing month without an announced release date, I wanted to scream, “It’s NOT about JAPAN!”

Now, however, it appears that profitability has finally gained the upper hand over fear of those inane loudspeaker trucks. Plus, the film just took home seven hard-to-ignore Oscars, including best picture, director, actor, supporting actor and cinematography. Note: it was filmed in both conventional and bone-rattling IMAX formats, and though I saw the former, I hear that the latter is in groundbreaking ways better. Don’t you dare watch this on a small screen.

With the massive publicity the film has been given, you hardly need my rundown of the plot and superb cast (though a special shout-out is due to Robert Downey, Jr.) But here are a few thoughts on what it is about.

Nolan has pulled all aspects of making a movie together in a way that Hollywood has forgotten how to do. It’s a biopic/mystery/character study about a conflicted, arrogant and deeply flawed intellectual giant that plays out as a thriller, without insulting anyone’s intelligence. Almost lost in the glare of the blast is how the man was treated after the war.

The writer/director’s stunning technical mastery serves the story and would be seen as showing off in another filmmaker. By way of a reminder, his previous credits include the Dark Knight Batman trilogy, Dunkirk, Interstellar, Inception, Insomnia and Memento. Impressive, to be sure, but here he’s operating on a whole new level. Question: where the hell does he go from here? (180 min)