“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

This marked a poignant moment when the infamous words were voiced by Cillian Murphy, playing J. Robert Oppenheimer – the titular character in Christopher Nolan’s historic-thriller, ‘Oppenheimer’.

This came during an early scene in the film, a much earlier scene than I had expected to hear them in, considering these are the words that Oppenheimer had claimed were running through his head as ‘Gadget’, the first atomic bomb, was detonated as a test in the plains of New Mexico, following years of scientific research and development.

This moment was depicted much later in the film – portrayed as a visual spectacular of intense close-ups of Oppenheimer and his team, crossed with landscape shots of the bomb site, building suspense as the countdown reduced.

The accompanying haunting score of silence was as deafening as the delayed sonic boom that followed the bomb’s eventual detonation.

As I watched along, experiencing the characters’ fearful delight of witnessing the burning mushroom cloud engulf the night sky, Oppenheimer’s conflicting emotions overcame me.

His pride in his success – and his fear for what this success meant for the future of the world.

It was only after watching this sequence that Nolan’s choice of introducing the phrase so early on in the film became clear.

A powerful use of foreshadowing on the director’s behalf.

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” read Oppenheimer, slowly translating from Sanskrit the words of the Hindu scripture, as instructed by his love interest, Jean Tatlock (Florence Pugh).

Impartial Reporter: CillIan Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer. Image: Warner Bros/PACillIan Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer. Image: Warner Bros/PA

It was an intimate and somewhat quiet moment in the film that gave an extra level of poignancy to the phrase which, in just nine words, encapsulates the extent of what Oppenheimer became.

Going into the film, I knew some basic history about him, and a little of the race to develop an atomic bomb.

I knew of the devastation that President Truman inflicted on the Japanese cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima through deciding to drop the bombs ‘Little Boy’ and ‘Fat Man’.

I knew of the world-changing impact of nuclear weaponry, but I didn’t know the specific details in great depth behind the film’s setting – such as the arms race, the science and the moral conflict such people faced.

With Oppenheimer, I felt that Nolan was teaching the world a valuable history lesson through the art of film.

See Victoria Johnston's review of 'Barbie' as part of our Barbenheimer feature here.