Published On: Thu, Oct 11th, 2018

‘First Man’ highlights the feat of reaching the moon, overcoming tragedy

For most fans of historical space films, The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 rest in their own special category. Film critics will push audiences to believe that First Man belongs in an elite group, something spectacular and enthralling, but may not be for everyone.

Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) goes on the journey of a lifetime, battling through personal struggles, the loss of his daughter to join NASA’s most ambitious project: go to the moon. Director Damien Chazelle approaches the early portion of the film and the scenes centering on the family with shaky cam, closeups and a vintage home video tone and then uses a claustrophobic, chaotic and intense approach to convey the dangers of the test flights.

The capsule shakes. The audience will fear that it may come apart. It is different, brilliant at times, but also hard to watch and not appealing in many ways.

Chazelle should get credit for the volatile and dangerous presentation of the space program. The all-star cast gets lost into the background with only a few players even getting named: Patrick Fugit as a trusting Elliot See; Jason Clarke plays Ed White a loyal friend of Neil and Corey Stoll as the blunt, but honest Buzz Aldrin.

Gosling’s Armstrong is extremely odd and neurotic. The film is based on the novel by James Hansen and I’m interested in determining how authentic this portrayal truly is.
First Man showcases Claire Foy as Neil’s wife, Jan, struggling to find some normalcy. She’s a chain smoker, releasing all of the emotions that Neil hides away. Foy delivers a Best Oscar performance, with amazing ease.
The outrage over the planting of the flag is just nonsense. Shame on Chazelle if they cut the scene, because there is a focus on the global audience, which distracts from the American exceptionalism associated with the moon landing. The moon landing sequence is actually strangely pieced together with Neil’s most awkward moment…I didn’t like it. (I’ll actually hate it if it’s fiction).
Critics are literally over the moon (pun intended) for First Man, overplaying how great this film is to them and frankly, I don’t agree. It has great moments and the space sequences are truly frightening at times. One critic noted the love of the SILENT moments, but seriously, First Man is a very artsy film and not for everyone.
If have vertigo issues, can’t handle dizzying scenes, then you CANNOT watch this film. It tries to convey that and does at time very well.
First Man received 3 1/2 stars out of 5 stars
The film certainly deserves a ton of Oscar nominations: editing, sound, cinematography and the aforementioned Foy. 2018 has been a subpar year for films, good films getting the label of great, so First Man may be headed to even more nominations.
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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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