Never Again

Watched the Oppenheimer  movie the other night with New Wife.  I of course was familiar with the whole Trinity/Manhattan Project/Oppenheimer story, so I was able to follow the plot reasonably well.

New Wife knew very little about the topic, and as a result she fell asleep about a third of the way through;  she couldn’t make head or tail of the thing because the dialogue was indistinct and often obscured by the ambient noise of the movie set, so boredom set in and off into dreamland she went, the lucky girl..

The fault is mine because I should have paid more attention to the opening credits.

Director:  Christopher Nolan.

FFS, when is this pretentious asshole going to be tossed onto the garbage heap of cinematic history?

I have complained — often — about the current moviemaking trend of mumbled dialogue and over-loud soundtracks.  Nolan doesn’t just fall into the trap of this trendy nonsense:  he positively revels in it, and is proud of the fact that his movies are profoundly indistinct, both in terms of his characters’ dialogue and in the lack of lighting.

Oppenheimer  was a fine example of all his nonsense.  And it was a shit movie.

I’m never going to watch another of Nolan’s movies, ever again.  Fuck him, the arrogant swine.


  1. I thought the same thing. I couldn’t understand all the gushing praise heaped on the thing. And for exactly the same reason, could not follow the dialogue.

    Can’t wait for your review of Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. 😉

  2. The “sound” thing you mentioned prohibits me from watching at least 80% of everything made over the past 20+ years. Once again, institutions are suiciding themselves and it makes no sense why.

  3. I haven’t seen it. You’ve given me no reason to change my mind. I did see a cast interview about the time it was released, and it was so painful I had to tap out after about 5 minutes. The woman doing the interview was administering verbal blowjobs to her subjects, and they to one another. I’m sure it was breath mints all around afterwards.

    Redundancy alert, as I’m confident I’ve preached this sermon here before: The Making Of The Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes. Go ye, and read of it.

  4. Agreed – the Nolan version of the story is a total mess. For any recently made movie I have to turn on the subtitles just to be able to understand the mumbled dialog over the sound track.

    A much better movie that over the same content is “FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY” with Paul Newman and Dwight Shultz. Not only does it have a straight forward time line instead of skipping around, It explains the physics, the politics and the breakthrough of using an Implosion as the trigger to get the reaction to work.

  5. Yeah, stay home and wait until it comes out on video or streaming, then watch with sub-titles turned on, pause, rewind, read dialog, watch scene twice more, rinse repeat for every bit of dialog that looks important. Watching movies has become so tiresome.

    Thing is, I can watch pretty much anything made in the 80’s or earlier and understand every word spoken. It’s not the TV speakers or my ears, it’s the mumble school of acting combined with the Nolan action soundtrack that’s killing it.

  6. I watched it earlier this year or maybe last year.

    I discussed the movie with my Aunt and Uncle last summer on vacation. She was born just after WW2 and her father was in the Pacific theater fighting the Japanese. The discussion quickly turned to the ethical and moral question of dropping the nukes. Both Nagasaki and Hiroshima were clearly military targets. This “don’t hurt civilians” during war is a rather modern concept. I’m not sure when it began to take root. My uncle is a “peace at any cost” type. He thought the nukes weren’t justified. As far as the movie goes, I don’t understand the hype to it. Despite its dialogue, cinematography, plot etc it was a very superficial treatment of the subject.

    1. from what I’ve read and heard the movie was designed as an anti-nuclear weapon hit piece, with no real depth given to the considerations that went into the decision to use it and where.

      In actuality, the Truman war cabinet was extremely wary about using the nuclear option, until they were presented with estimated casualty figures for the invasion of Japan which showed the casualty rate (including Japanese civilians) from that would be 10-20 times HIGHER than the casualty figures from dropping the nuclear bombs (remember the US only had 3 deployable nuclear weapons at the time, with 2 more being prepared but those weren’t completed until after the Japanese surrender).

      The fact that the Soviets, already shown to be an unreliable ally at best and an enemy at worst, were invading Japan as well, so a rapid end to the war was essential in order to prevent half or more of Japan falling under Soviet occupation, helped cement the decision but didn’t drive it.

      I’m not entirely sure whether the administration was aware of Soviet espionage at Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project at large, but they must have been suspicious of it at the very least (Fuchs of course was not arrested until several years later, when the British caught him as he was becoming careless in no small part because of the Atley administration’s friendly overtures to the USSR, the Rosenbergs were also still at large afaik). But the US administration must have been suspecting the Soviets were also developing nuclear weapons, and unaware of how far along that project was.

      1. That’s a good call-out on the decision – if we have not dropped nukes there’s a good chance the USSR would still own a chunk of Japan. That part of history is very rarely discussed.

  7. As Don Curton stated above – ‘it’s not my ears or the speakers’ and I agree completely.
    Decades ago, during the ‘studio system’ of Hollywood, the studios hired
    ‘teachers’ ( diction coaches ) to teach actors HOW to pronounce words and how to speak clearly. For whatever reason(s) this practice disappeared over time. So now we have people who sound like they have a mouth full of hot marbles when they speak.
    Some blame is left over for sound board operators !! Bleeding ears is NOT an
    indication of a good sound track !!
    As to JQ’s comments, my take has been for some time that 2 bombs ENDED the war. Right then. It took 2 bombs to convince almost everyone that the first one was not a fluke of some sort. The Nagasaki bomb showed that the destruction could be done again and again and again.
    This second bomb was also necessary for two other reasons. First, an invasion
    of Japan would cost approximately 1 MILLION casualties or MORE.
    Second, it would be months if not years of fighting IN Japan before it could be
    ‘secured’ as they say. The best descriptions of the problem was something like – ‘The Japanese will eat rocks before they give up that island’ ! I’ve seen films of mothers with infants committing suicide by stepping / jumping off of cliffs.
    Not a pretty sight.
    Just my humble opinion but the 2 bombs saved far more lives, on BOTH sides s than they destroyed.

    1. no doubt that the two nukes saved far more lives than it cost. Absolutely no doubt at all. The Japanese are GD lucky it didn’t require a third or fourth bomb.

  8. I loved Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Liked Memento, Interstellar, Inception and Dunkirk, so despite the sometimes muffled dialog, I can’t say I’ll never go see another movie of his again. But it is an ocassional pain in the ass not being able to hear the actors, and Nolan seems to refuse to apologize for it.

    Haven’t seen Oppenheimer, yet. Big thumbs up for Fat Man and Little Boy – very good casting (they even managed to rein in John Cusack) and good story.

  9. When some ignorant lefty (BIRM) whines about the civilians who died, just point out that the US War Department determined that there would be so many injured soldiers due to get a Purple Heart, that they ordered a half a million medals. And that production run is still the inventory for any Purple Heart awarded this week.

    1. they don’t care. What they would care about is the war department’s estimates that 2-3 million Japanese civilians would die during the invasion.

  10. I have to say I liked the movie overall. Yes it was mumbly and overwrought, and illustrates Hollywood’s obsession with the justifiable Red Scare in the 50’s.

    But I’ve also read several books about the Manhattan Project, and Oppenheimer in general (Most recently the General and the Genius). IDK why but I always found him somewhat fascinating.

    What fascinated me about the era is the wholesale disregard of the bastardy of Joe Stalin by our .gov, and his minions. Whilst amplifying Nazi Germany’s crimes (which were many).

  11. Read many books on the subject. Only thing I want to see out of Hollywood is complete fiction. I no longer want to watch any of there histories. I barely want to watch even there fictions.

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