On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
Written by Academy Award® winner Josh Singer (Spotlight), the drama is produced by Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (The Twilight Saga, The Fault in Our Stars) through their Temple Hill Entertainment banner, alongside Chazelle and Gosling.
Derek – This movie has nothing to do with Garden of Eden, apples or snakes. This is a biopic of Astronaut Neil Armstrong and not just of his most famous one-liner, “…That’s one small (beep!) step for man… one giant leap for mankind (beep!)”
The movie obviously builds up to the point where Ryan Gosling as Armstrong, plonks his foot down on the floor of a film set dusted with dry cement powder. But the story of getting there is what the film really is about.
In the 1960’s, those pesky Russkies and their Cosmonauts were outdoing America. President Kennedy’s aim was to restore America’s pride and dominance in the in the 1960’s “space race”. He was successful in this, the Eagle landing on the moon before the decade was out. All thanks to what can only be described as incredible bravery and skills of the likes of Neil Armstrong. Plus the flinging of shithousefulls of taxpayers money at the project, of course…
Test flights and preliminary launches into space must have been nervewracking experiences for the spacemen of the day. The launch of a spacecraft certainly wasn’t the smooth swishing into space as in Star Wars movies. The reality was accurately depicted by the scenes shot of Astronauts inside the craft during launch, filmed from a camera strapped to the top of a washing machine loaded with half-bricks and old motor spares doing a spin-cycle, with sound effects to match.
Ryan Gosling again shows his versatility as an actor. Plenty of brooding close up shots of his face – deep in thought, staring blankly. Sometimes with a helmet on, sometimes without. Emotions superimposed can be sadness (tear trickling down cheek) to puzzlement (slight raising of eyebrow) to joy or annoyance. Well actually, I can’t remember seeing the latter.
Now the crunch. In my view, the real star of the show is Claire Foy as Armstrong’s wife. Brilliant. And at times I could understand her frustration with the wooden performance of her husband. I’m sure that I was not the only one in the audience just itching to give Gosling a klap and be told to “get over yourself, you’re acting a part, show emotion!” Or maybe Armstrong was really like that?
Go see this movie, if nothing else but to experience the atmosphere of those days. Well, not on the moon, there isn’t one. And also to admire the special effects and especially the abilities of Claire Foy. 7.5/10
“ThatNomadShad” & “The Chairman”
What did you all think? Worth the watch?
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