Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll and others.
Based on the book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong" by James R. Hansen, director Damien Chazelle and writer Josh Singer tells the story of American triumph and emphasised on the personal story behind it. First Man is not just a bunch of planes and rockets’ flying around; in fact the entire film is mostly more focused on Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) by chronicling his journey from test pilot to Apollo, losing his friends along the way and his personal loss and an emotional turmoil.
Direcror Damien Chazelle once again shows his sheer range as one of the most talented filmmakers out there. He directs this film with the utmost care, as well as an obvious passion for the subject matter. He doesn't add unnecessary material to the film to make it more popular to the masses. There is no "asteroid field" sequence that would enthral a viewer for no reason. As a result, the film really feels like it is taking place in outer space. This adds a layer of realism to the special effects, and the film is much better that way. Since the focus is on the characters, space does not become an integral part of the storytelling. It is contextual and is used to help convey the astronauts drive and motivation. Its most impressive achievement is that it manages to generate genuine gnawing tension in spite of the fact that most viewers already know the outcome.
Emotional balance and master pacing is a hallmark of Chazelle's films. All of his movies, which include ‘Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench’, 'Whiplash', 'La La Land' have emotional cores that anchor them. You come away feeling like you've had a truly human experience; First Man is no different. Meanwhile, the film rounds up an all star cast with Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll and many more.
Gosling and Foy are absolutely great together. The relationship between the two looks very plausible and there are lot of very emotionally charged scenes between them throughout. In one brilliant scene, Janet Armstrong (excellently played by Claire Foy) confronts her husband to have a conversation with thier kids just before his risky mission. On the contrary, Neil has made a clear choice in his mind: He will try to accomplish his important mission, knowing that it is quite possible his kids will never see their father again. The fine collection of actors come together in such a brilliant way as they all pull off fantastic performances that make First Man a melodramatic, yet still believable film.
The problem may lie in the main character on which the movie is based, Neil Armstrong. He is portrayed as a colorless human being, who is somewhat cold to his family. Since the movie focuses mainly on his family relationships, the moon mission feels somewhat secondary, and therefore the movie lacks a lot of drama.
First Man is quite slow in the build up and the film relies almost entirely on the script and ability of the cast, so it is certainly not to everyone's taste.
So in conclusion, if you are a spaceship fanboy or something, this is a great film for you because it is quite realistic; if you are looking for something energetic, go to Gravity or The Martian; if you want something more abstract with a deeper thematic message, well, 2001: the Space Odyssey is always there for you.
Watch First Man trailer here:...