This Oscar-nominated documentary profiles the career of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Known as the "father of the atomic bomb," he was celebrated as a national hero at the end of World War II, but tarnished by McCarthyites in the 1950s when he became a staunch critic of nuclear weapons. Drawing on archival footage and present-day interviews with those who worked closely with him on the Manhattan Project, the film also details Roosevelt's secret build-up of a scientific think tank to harness atomic fission for weapons of mass destruction in the wake of Pearl Harbor.
As Else and his subjects make clear in this intriguing historical feature, Oppenheimer was a rakish, sometimes arrogant, always ambitious physicist who was more than happy to climb the ladder to fame, guiding science into never-before-imagined areas of research. The payoff was a gigantic mushroom cloud rising over the New Mexico desert, a now-iconic image of mass death seen here in terrifying newsreels. Yet he was as conscience-stricken by the carnage in Japan as his colleagues, who in interviews candidly express their conflicted feelings about the force they unleashed. Don't wait another "Day" to view ti fascinating doc.