To Understand ‘Oppenheimer,’ Look Back at Prometheus

Cillian Murphy in 'Oppenheimer.' (Photo: Courtesy of Universal Studios)

One of the most impressive things Christopher Nolan manages to do in Oppenheimer is striking a balance between admiration and ambivalence for “the father of the atomic bomb.” It’s a dual attitude his film shares with a far older story about a similarly titanic figure.

Oppenheimer begins with a title-card synopsis of the Ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, which reads:

Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to man.

For this he was chained to a rock and tortured for eternity.

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