FAT MAN AND LITTLE BOY
Review by Gordon Justesen
Paul Newman, Dwight Schultz, Bonnie Bedelia, John Cusack, Laura Dern, John C.
Director: Roland Joffe
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Length: 126 Minutes
Release Date: April 27, 2004
come down out of the clouds, gentlemen, and get into the business…of winning
One of the most
highlighted events to come out of World War II was the atomic bomb that was
dropped over the countries of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. What wasn’t so familiar
to the masses was how these two individual items of destruction ever got
created. This is the story told in the fact based film Fat Man and Little Boy, which traces the concept of the bomb all the
way to its testing.
Set in 1942,
perhaps the darkest time period in WWII, the story is set around the gathering
of renowned scientists by the U.S. government in an attempt to create the
ultimate nuclear weapon. The U.S. has two primary goals in mind: have a distinct
weapon ready to strike at the enemy, and to beat out the Russians who are
already in the preparing stages.
scientists are ordered to construct their work at a remote base somewhere in the
deserts of New Mexico. They have been recruited by Gen. Leslie Groves (Paul
Newman), the very man responsible for literally putting together the pentagon.
Groves has hired scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Dwight Schultz) to
specifically head up the project undertaking. Oppenheimer has been given nothing
more than a deadline by Groves, but the task which has been given to him will
nonetheless be a challenging one for him and his team.
In addition to the
constructing of the atomic bomb, which consists of rigorous testing, the film
also takes a look at the private lives of the men behind the creation.
Oppenheimer is actually caught up in something of a dilemma. He is happily
married to his wife (Bonnie Bedelia), and is seeing a mistress (Natasha
Richardson) on the side, who also happens to be a security risk when it is
revealed she may or may not be a member of the communist party. Another story
angle focuses on young scientist Michael Merriman (John Cusack) and his romantic
fling with military nurse Kathleen Robinson (Laura Dern).
The movie does
include individually fascinating, and even suspenseful, sequences. One such
scene comes at midpoint in the film when an accident during a testing experiment
results in a character’s exposure to radiation (something I did not see coming
at all). At this point it is questioned by some if the creation of a deadly
weapon is worth the lives of those hired to build it in the first place.
Though if not
completely involving, Fat Man and Little
Boy does offer up a intriguing look at a little known chapter in the course
of WWII, one that would precede a largely remembered chapter in WWII. The story
of the development of the atomic bomb is one worth being told, and the story the
film has been supplied, from I what I can tell, delivers absolute faithfulness.
lately been on quite a roll with the proper handling of their catalogue titles
in the video department, and the transfer of this movie is terrific example. The
movie, with about 15 years age to it, looks quite masterful in the format,
accomplishing proper picture rendering, with thorough clarity and detail. Colors
look quite strong as well, as the New Mexican desert presents some strong brown
and gold hues. Give a soft touch or two; this is a most impressive release.
Mostly a dialogue
driven film, the 5.1 track does manage to make the most of it. The range gets
good enough treatment from several set pieces, such as sequences inside air
hangars and laboratories. In addition, a few explosions work their way in and
sound, well, pretty explosive. Dialogue and music delivery also get high