“Oppenheimer,” Christopher Nolan’s epic about the atomic bomb, has received some feedback from Spike Lee, who calls it a “great film” but wishes it had included more information about “what happened to the Japanese people.” The director told the Washington Post, “[Nolan] is a massive filmmaker… and this is not a criticism. It’s a comment. If [‘Oppenheimer’] is three hours, I would like to add some more minutes about what happened to the Japanese people. People got vaporized. Many years later, people are radioactive. It’s not like he didn’t have power. He tells studios what to do. I would have loved to have the end of the film maybe show what it did, dropping those two nuclear bombs on Japan.”
The central theme of Nolan’s film, which is based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s 2005 biography of Oppenheimer, is the scientist’s turbulent life and subsequent internal struggle. However, “Oppenheimer” mostly confines itself to the viewpoint of its protagonist and does not depict the bombings or their repercussions in Japan. The decision was defended by Los Angeles Times reviewer Justin Chang, who said that Nolan depicts the attacks “as a profound absence, an indictment by silence.” The omission was a prominent topic of controversy among critics surrounding the movie.
“Understand, this is all love,” Lee said. “And I bet [Nolan] could tell me some things he would change about ‘Do the Right Thing’ and ‘Malcolm X.’” Lee made it plain that he admired Nolan despite his remarks about “Oppenheimer,” telling the Post that he had shown “Dunkirk” to his students in his New York University film class.
Boasting worldwide box office receipts of more than $930 million, “Oppenheimer” became a summertime blockbuster. The biopic drama has overtaken “The Dark Knight” and “The Dark Knight Rises” as Nolan’s third-highest-grossing film of all time. A Japanese release date for the movie is not yet scheduled.