Movie Talk,  MovieMuse Reviews by Erin

Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has been “the talk of the town” for months now. So much so, in fact, that waiting until the week before it premiered to purchase IMAX tickets turned out to be a huge mistake! I mean, I expected to have to wait until the second weekend to see it, maybe even the 3rd, but no. At less than a week before its debut, every showing available for purchase was either sold out or only had single (or front row; NOPE!) tickets left. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Four showings a day, every day, for 3 weeks! I had to wait for the first week to pass and for them to add the next week of showings, which I stayed up until after midnight for so I could get first crack at the newly added dates and times, and even then, we had to go on a weekday because everyone else apparently had the same idea.

It was worth it.

Truly incredible. Those are the only words I can find to adequately (or, rather, not at all adequately) describe it. Stunning visuals, amazing performances, perfect casting, with directing that was both powerful and delicate in turns, plus spectacular music/scoring from the same composer who does The Mandalorian. And in those high seats in that huge theater on a genuine 60 ft x 80 ft (18 m x 25 m) IMAX screen (not the fake digital ones that just put you closer to the screen and call it IMAX) projecting an authentic 15/70 physical film print (I just learned what that means this week!) with those gigantic speakers…. you literally feel the shock wave hit your chest and rattle your bones. Yes, before anyone comments, the Mall of Georgia does usually show IMAX films via digital, as of a few years ago, but for very special occasions, they will reinstall the film projector, which is what they did here. You could both hear and feel when the giant reels started turning. It was a sensation I had forgotten, and that alone almost moved me to tears.

I need to see it again, though. Between the volume and the proximity to the screen, plus the huge cast of characters (where everyone is someone; I mean, they dug up Matthew Modine, Tony Goldwyn, and Scott Grimes, for goodness sake!), it was hard to keep track of everything and everyone. And the characters didn’t spend a lot of time using each other’s names, so when they were speaking of someone off screen (which was often!), it was sometimes difficult to recall who exactly they were referencing. Plus, we all know that Christopher Nolan is incapable of telling a story purely in chronological order. There were three main timelines that were interwoven (1930s, 1940s, 1950s), but even within those, there was some jumping back and forth, so not even each individual stream moved “only forward” from where it began (and I don’t just mean the callback at the end). It’s a lot to keep up with, and I know I missed an occasional line and felt like something was meant to have more meaning than I could discern every now and then. (I’m getting old, what can I say.)

See it. On as big of a screen as you can (yes, even pretend IMAX if you have that option). Atlanta folks, the newly reopened independent Tara Theater (no longer owned/operated by Regal, who closed it earlier this year) has also installed a 70mm projector for the occasion, horizontal reels and all! The screen isn’t a huge IMAX one, and it’s “only” a 5/70 print (vs IMAX 15/70), but the clarity should still be far beyond anything you can see at a regular theater. I wanted to see it on a full IMAX before watching it anywhere else, but we will definitely be going to see it again, maybe at the Tara. It’s a good way to help them stay in business AND to encourage them to show more 70mm prints they might have access to. That’s a win for everyone!