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“First Man”Setting Foot on the Moon

 

 

Review by John Delia

Let me start by saying that the American Flag and the United State of America are well represented in the movie First Man and negative publicity surrounding that issue should be discounted.

The film follows Neil Armstrong the first astronaut to step on the surface of the moon and proclaim it for all mankind. He was not the only man to be the first to land on it however, his Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin followed him out of the lander to the surface. However, as dramatic as Hollywood can be, it’s Armstrong who gets all the glory and his biography for the basis of the film.

RYAN GOSLING as Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”).

The film opens with the early life of astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and then his determination to be chosen for the Apollo team. He first had to deal with the Gemini docking that involved his crew and himself spinning out of control and later the Apollo 1 unfortunate deaths of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, Ed White and Roger B. Chaffee. He forged on through controversy and personal issues to be named commander of Apollo 11. It was at this point of the Apollo program that the crew would set foot on the Moon.

CLAIRE FOY as Janet Armstrong in “First Man,” directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”).

The film shows the details of being an astronaut preparing for the goal to take the long ride into space and the psychological effects of going into the unknown. First Man is well made with good acting all around, fine direction by Damien Chazelle who knows how to deal with psychological issues for the screen (Whiplash) and to visualize the space adventure and make it look real. The script gets a bit too long however and like many biographies becomes a bit boring. What does save the film however, comes with the performance by Clare Foy as his wife Janet Armstrong who shows her fears and stress due to the possible extenuating circumstances of space flight.

(L to R) COREY STOLL as Buzz Aldrin, LUKAS HAAS as Mike Collins and RYAN GOSLING as Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” directed by Oscar®-winning filmmaker Damien Chazelle (“La La Land”).

Gosling puts on a good show as Neil Armstrong with a very good enactment that should get him recognition during Awards season. It’s hard to tell what the real Armstrong thought, but Gosling brings a never say die persona to the man, one that pushes him over the edge. Considering the two ordeals of maned flight that Armstrong had to face, if it was anything like what is performed in this film, it makes me a believer.

First Man has been rated PG-13 for some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language. The film also shows the awful tragedy of Grissom, White and Chaffee being burned up in the capsule aboard Apollo 1. Other films that may overshadow this one include The Right Stuff (1983) and Space Cowboys (2000).

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good notable biography. (4 out of 5 Stars)

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Written by: Josh Singer
Genre: Drama, Biography
MPAA Rating:  PG-13 for some thematic content involving peril, and brief strong language
Running Time: 2 hrs. 21 min.
Opening Date: October 12, 2018
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Released in: Standard, IMAX

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