First Man – Film Review
For the completion of the NASA trilogy in space this film definitely rounds out the beginning middle and end of the manned missions to the Moon. With this film, “Hidden Figures” and “Apollo 13” you can call that an unabridged trilogy of NASA based movies on the space race. First Man tells the story of Neil Armstrong’s journey for 8 years until he lands onto the moon. I did appreciate the ground that they covered and the level of effort those men had to go through in order to make the mission a success. Damien Chazelle does a great job in
My only issues with the film is that it feels a little long at points. If they had tightened the film in editing to contain the focus on the main point of Neil grieving for his daughter Karen and cut some of the excess of the film it would have helped out with pacing. I do feel that the film does try to cover every single major event over the course of those 8 years. The work that both Claire Foy and Ryan Gosling put in to be Janet and Neil Armstrong is commendable. You can tell that there is an internal working of Ryan’s performance and Claire was trying to be as faithful as she could to the real life brother’s parents.
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
The rest of the cast is filled with named actors from television and other smaller films. Christopher Abbot, Ethan Emory, Kyle Chandler, Pablo Schreiber, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Lukas Haas, and Patrick Fugi all provide great supporting performances throughout the film. The film utilizes its ensemble cast well but keeps the focus mainly on Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy. Damien Chazelle does a great job in getting out the performances of his actors but also knows how to use the camera to give the audience a fresh experience. He puts the camera inside of the rocket so you feel as though you’re in a roller coaster along with the astronauts experiencing the same thing as they are. It’s a great way to show something we’ve seen before in a new light. This film is very relentless in the fact it has a lot of visceral motions in the camera work and hard actions and reactions to what the characters are experiencing based on real life. So much death and grief is experienced in this film in order to make the journey successful.
I would definitely say to see this film on the biggest screen that you can and with a great sound system. The score by Justin Hurwitz is pretty incredible. Very memorable notes and touching beats that are played throughout the film. I would say that the film is almost worthy of seeing it in a premiere IMAX experience for the Moon Landing sequences but I felt they could have used IMAX throughout the film in other space sequences to validate the marketing for it. Definitely a recommend to see before the award season hits. I do feel that this will gain some nominations in technical categories, maybe Best Picture and one of the actors, and possible score.