Oppenheimer: not warmongering, but still feckless

The Stammering Dunce
2 min readAug 21, 2023

Also published on Wordpress.

I am not going to debate the veracity of the accounts. Therefore, I am going to treat the story and its characters as entirely fictional.

No, this film does not glorify wars. The titular character is frequently shown feeling guilty about his contributions to weapons of mass destruction. While he is not necessarily depicted as a hero (he can be a dick to everyone around him), he is depicted as a deeply flawed man with conscience.

In fact, instead of depicting Harry S. Truman — who coldly dismissed Oppenheimer’s concern about war victims — as a heroic figure, the film depicts as a callous monster who thinks having conscience makes you whiny.

But, at the same time, the film is also too cowardly with its anti-war sentiment.

While it does acknowledge the sufferings of the ordinary Hiroshima and Nagasaki citizens, it refuses to visualise them. It refuses to show the survivors’ injuries in graphic visual details; the bodily horror is only meagerly described in a handful of dialogues.

If the film genuinely believes nuking civilians is immoral, having a character with constant moral musing is not enough; it needs to show why doing so is bad.

The depiction’s absence makes me difficult to take the conscientious dialogues seriously; for me, they end up sounding like moralistic rants of an attention-seeking virtue signaler who cannot stand their ground.

The reactions to the film are “interesting”. On one hand, people hate the film because they see it as pro-war. On the other, people love the film because they see it as pro-war. Both camps love and hate the film for the same reason.

And it is also obvious both are delusional; they see and hear what they want to see and hear. They think a film espouses a certain belief when it clearly espouses the exact opposite. But, I do wonder: what if the bodily horror is visually depicted?

I am certain the message would be even more unmistakable and people would have a harder time distorting it to further their agendas.

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