Cast: Ryan Gosling, Clarie Foy, Kyle Chandler, Pablo Schreiber.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Damien Chazelle’s biopic of Neil Armstrong, starring Ryan Gosling, has a depressing start, where we witness the dead scene of Neil’s daughter due to the radiation which he inherits. The film follows the life of Neil Armstrong from 1961 to 1969. How his passion and madness made him one of the most important parts of the history and while doing so how he dealt with the losses of his loved ones and his own obsession/madness. The movie also focuses on his family, especially his wife, how she copes up with his complexities and his goal to reach for the moon. The struggle story of an aspiring astronaut whose only dream was to accomplish the reach to moon, who wished to put the first foot step on the magnificent moon. The biographical tale, not only showcases his journey to the space, but also deals with the inner fears which he had in his mind, showcases his vision in the best possible manner and also reveals the loss he suffered to be the First Man.
The best thing about First Man is that it’s an intimate story. The narrative and screenplay unfold in such a way that by the time Neil Armstrong finally takes his first step on the surface of the moon, you as an audience are a part of his well-earned victory. You shall experience the walkthrough which he has experienced in those victorious period. You get the kind of rush, the man must be feeling when he walked on the moon for the first time. And when you find yourself present at that very moment which happened 49 years ago, you know the filmmaker has done a fabulous job.
Ryan Gosling shines as Neil Armstrong. The scene when he finally let go of his dead daughter’s bracelet was moving but Ryan’s performance is bound to leave a lump in your throat. He probably is the most effortless actor of his generation. And here he plays Neil Armstrong with utmost ease. We couldn’t have imagined anyone else in the skin of Neil Armstrong. His spontaneous performance and dedication towards such a gracious role is crystal clear! The correct casting of Armstrong was so essential because it’s such a personal story, the journey of this man from 1961, testing X-15s for NASA, to when he returns after the monumental Apollo 11 mission in 1969.
Marked by a personal tragedy in the early scenes of First Man, the film follows him from applying for the astronauts program where he meets compatriots including Ed White (Jason Clarke), Elliot See (Patrick Fugit) and Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler), a former Mercury pilot who oversaw the astronauts at NASA. It goes on to cover the Gemini 8 mission with David Scott (Christopher Abbott) to that moment that meant one thing to the world and something else to Armstrong.
With First Man’s focus on establishing a near-unbreakable emotional connection between Armstrong and the viewer, Chazelle uses extreme close-ups from the first frame, cleverly keeping you within Armstrong’s physical space. Armstrong’s course is one that’s marked by success, failure, tragedy and near-misses, including the Gemini 8 mission, his experience of which is captured by Chazelle with extreme intensity.
Cinespeaks Verdict: The film is an informative watch, with some brilliant performances and breath stealing sequences. The first half is dragged out at a certain extent, the climax scene is no doubt returns to track. The film is not an entertainer watch, but is recommended for the viewers who are interested in Astrology, the one who are fascinated about the space and who wishes to unveil the life of First Man who stepped on the Moon!!!
Cinespeaks give 2.5 stars to the film.