If you don't like this, we can't be friends.
Very interesting film. Was caught on the premise when seeing the trailer but unsure as to what the outcome would be for the showing. As it turns out, it was a very good film.
The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
There are moments in this movie where the great movie it could've been peek out... They're fleeting, here, but they're worth savoring, and they happen often enough to make it worth your while.
It's 1943, 766 days before Hiroshima. Charlie Isaacs with his wife Abby and young son arrive at the secret Los Alamos research base tasked with creating the atomic bomb, the Manhattan Project. Reed Akley is the chief designer under Robert Oppenheimer. He hopes that Charlie has the answer to his problem. Dr. Frank Winter leads a small group on an alternative design. The group includes Helen Prins, Paul Crosley, Glen Babbit, Jim Meeks, Fritz Fedowitz, and Sid Liao. Family life is a struggle in the armed camp. Frank's botanist wife Dr. Liza Winter slowly uncovers the secret while daughter Callie is tired of the camp. Through it all, there is the threat of the Nazi program and spies within the camp.This is a fictionalization of the real Manhattan project. I like the first season with the personal ambitions, scientific intrigue, and rivalry. There are situations that seems wrong but it's still very compelling. The second season starts going down a rocky path. It starts with Frank's Kafkaesque imprisonment. It's surreal with an obvious reveal. It also separates Frank from the rest of the show. Without Frank, the rest of the show sputters. By the time he returns, the show has stalled and struggles to recover. The espionage is intriguing but time and time again, the characters do unlikely actions. The show becomes more and more unreal. The final ending stalks the show. I almost wish for the show to create an alternate world history. It is also limited with a definitive expiry date. Two seasons are enough.
'Manhattan' is the sort of show, actually scratch that, there is no show truly like Manhattan out there. This is a show that is attempting to say something deeply profound about the most important, most dangerous bit of technology that mankind has ever produced and (given incremental improvements over the last 70 odd years) will likely not be surpassed for centuries. And that profound message is this, any argument of the necessity of the creation of the A-bomb, was just that, merely an argument. The bomb was created by scientists who felt they were doing their part to end the war, doing their part to save lives, but it was funded by a military and government that believed itself to be "the most noble civilization in human history", a government that sought to bring peace, justice and democracy to the world through fear. Make no mistake, the network may have 'America' in its label, but this is no patriotic propaganda piece. The shows starts off bombarding the audience with the depth of the secrecy surrounding the Manhattan project, then demonstrates (albeit in a largely fictional manner) the cost of that secrecy in both human sanity and actual lives. Each scene, each character is as complex as the 'gadget' they are all part of constructing, this show is a total mess, but in a good way.Its a TV show with completely unpredictable story lines, with characters who jump back and forth between ideals, motivations and needs. It beautifully catalogs what it means to be human, to live in a complex world packed full of both sympathy and ruthlessness. Where conflicting emotional and rational forces comes at odds with each other, sometimes for better, sometimes for the worst.This is slow painful television, like 'Breaking Bad', 'The Wire' or the 'Sopranos', but where as those shows avoided the actual (or official) politics of the world around them, Manhattan thrives off its context. And that is not to say there are much scenes depicting the war itself, but rather the dirty, gritty, morally questionable side to keeping a nation and its individual citizens motivated in a time of all out war (there is heaps of spy-craft to be encountered here).A patient watcher of this show will learn a lot, not about the history or science that this show is steeped in (although I imagine those interested in the history of Physics will relish much offered here), but rather that that our greatest enemies aren't the monsters abroad, but those we create in our own backyards, in our own minds, in our own hearts to cope with the fear, the guilt, the crumbling pride. I hope that the lessons this show has to offer will never need be used in your life, but if you are to find yourself in a situation where manipulation, threat of force and the illusion of duty and righteousness are used as a regular means to get people to dismiss the moral objection to killing, this show may just help you avoid the same mistakes the flawed and believable characters of this show so readily make. One last point, if the visuals and soundtrack of the opening sequence doesn't work for you (as it pretty much encapsulates how the show feels), or if the endpoint of the series being a very well known historical event is some sort of plot spoiler, then perhaps you should rightly move on. Im not saying there aren't any jaw dropping surprises, the first few episodes of season 2 are wondrously packed with them, its only that's not the point of this majestic drama.
Manhattan is perhaps one of the most underrated shows currently on television. The fact that it comes from WGN creates a stigma towards that many viewers are unable to surpass. But trust me once you dwell into the first couple of episodes, you will not regret it. The writers on this show have done an incredible job in incorporating historical events into a show that is mostly based around fictional characters (although Oppenheimer makes several appearances, and Neils Bohr and Einstein also make brief appearances) and events. This creates a encapsulating drama that accompanies the main storyline about the creation of the atomic bomb. If you are looking for a historically accurate show more about the physics and mathematics behind the atomic bomb this is definitely not the show for you. At its heart it is a fully fledged drama. In particular I would like to commend the writers on drawing out the psychological trauma and difficulties placed on the scientists and individuals responsible for creating the bomb. This creates a more emotional connection to the characters and thus creates a synthetic sympathetic connection to these fictitious characters. Although generic at some stages the story lines are generally full of surprises which you would not expect and forces you to view the next episode, as any good televisions show should. Manhattan is one of those shows that are better watched several episodes in a row as the episodes tend to jump between the main character in focus.Overall this is a criminally underrated show by the television community and should be given more credit for what has become a gripping show.
I think it's already been said, started out promising but soon became tedious and contrived. A little bit like a undergraduate film using paint by numbers dramatic exercises. Simply forgetting the basics, that sub- plots have to be interesting and back up the main plot (which soon became secondary) and at least one of the characters has to be likable so you care what happens to them! I hate the kind of films that are say set in space and are about a serial killer, why bother? don't set a film in space if doesn't add anything to the story about a serial killer, likewise don't make a series about the most important event in human history and make it incidental to the story! a real shame as it had moments but no heart at all.