The intersection of innovation, science, political bureaucracy, and ethics meet in writer-director Christopher Nolan‘s “Oppenheimer,” a dark, challenging biopic about the father of the atomic bomb, Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. This profound epic clocks in at three hours yet never feels too long, even if it’s painfully clear that Nolan is indulging himself in a passion project. During World War II, Lt. General Leslie Groves Jr. (Matt Damon) appoints physicist Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) to work on the top-secret Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Assembling a team of the brightest scientists the country has to offer, the experts spend years developing and designing the atomic bomb. When their final product is used against Japan on July 16, 1945, the world witnesses its first nuclear explosion in an event that not only ends the war, but forever changes the course of history. There has been much hype about the fact that Nolan chose to film in IMAX, but the large format feels wasted here. The visuals are far from stunning, and the film is mostly a dramatic, dialogue-heavy history lesson that’s a far cry from what I’d call “entertaining.” It’s a great movie that’s engaging, sophisticated, and intelligent, but those expecting traditional thrills are going to be greatly disappointed. Save your money, because seeing this in IMAX isn’t really worth it. Nolan’s film is poignant in a way that’s chillingly relevant. His story not only explores one of the most important figures in U.S. history, but also makes you think about the current lack of empathy that’s plaguing society. There’s a very real moral question about humanity’s ability to make something that will help save the lives of many but also result in the death of innocents, and Nolan makes a strong political statement in a surprisingly restrained manner. His commentary on the far-reaching effects of such a powerful weapon born from the intersection of innovation, science, and government, while being an invention that has changed but also endangered the world, will give you chills. Nolan’s script is terrific, and is one of my favorite screenplays of the year. Nolan tells much more of the obscure back story of Oppenheimer’s professional and personal life that few know, and it makes for a lengthy (but interesting) narrative. The film includes his ties to the Communist Party, Hoover’s FBI investigation, his tangles with Lewis Strauss (Robert Downey Jr.), and an eventual closed-door hearing that was designed to strip him of his security clearance years after the war ended. “Oppenheimer” is a complex film that requires your full attention, with myriad characters and time jumps that will keep you on your toes. A basic knowledge of history is beneficial, but those who have only heard the name Robert Oppenheimer and are aware of the very basics (like the fact that he was involved in the creation of the atomic bomb) won’t be completely lost. In addition to complicated discussions of quantum physics, there are weighty themes about the dangers of government bureaucracy and the moral and ethical implications of creating a weapon of mass destruction. Nolan isn’t the type of storyteller who is keen on hand holding, and it’s refreshing to see a riveting movie that’s made for thinking audiences.