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Spike Lee Reflects on “Oppenheimer”: A Great Film, but Missing an Important Perspective

Spike Lee recently shared his thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer,” describing it as a “great film.” However, he also expressed his wish that the movie had included a portrayal of the Japanese perspective and the aftermath of the atomic bombings. Lee’s comments, made during an interview with the Washington Post, offered constructive feedback rather than criticism.

Lee acknowledged Nolan’s stature as a renowned filmmaker and clarified that his comments were intended as a valuable addition to the discussion. He pointed out that if “Oppenheimer” is a three-hour film, it could have spared some minutes to shed light on the tragic consequences for the Japanese people. Lee emphasized that the impact of dropping two nuclear bombs on Japan was immense, with people being vaporized and others suffering from long-term radioactive effects. He also noted Nolan’s significant influence in the industry, as he has the power to shape the content of his films. Lee expressed his desire for the movie’s conclusion to explore these crucial aspects.

Universal Pictures, the studio behind “Oppenheimer,” has not issued a response to Lee’s comments as of now.

Nolan’s film primarily revolves around the life of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who played a pivotal role in the development of the atomic bomb. In 1945, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians.

Based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s 2005 biography of Oppenheimer, Nolan’s film delves into the scientist’s tumultuous life and internal struggles following the bombings. However, “Oppenheimer” does not portray the bombings or their aftermath in Japan, opting instead to remain within its protagonist’s perspective. This omission generated substantial critical discussion, with some defending Nolan’s choice as a powerful statement through silence.

Lee concluded his comments by emphasizing that his remarks stemmed from a place of respect and appreciation for Nolan’s work. He even shared that he had shown Nolan’s film “Dunkirk” to his students in his New York University film class.

“Oppenheimer” achieved remarkable success during the summer, grossing over $930 million globally. The three-hour drama now ranks as Nolan’s third-highest-grossing movie, following “The Dark Knight” (2008) and “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012). Notably, the film has yet to secure a release date in Japan.

Spike Lee Reflects on “Oppenheimer”: A Great Film, but Missing an Important Perspective

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