First Man is directed by Damien Chazelle who has just been on fire these last few years! He’s brought us award-winning films such as La La Land, Whiplash and was also credited as one of the writers for 10 Cloverfield Lane. This time around he’s brought us something of a bio-pic chronicling the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong and how he became the first man to walk on the moon. The film does a great job of switching between the mission and those quieter moments at home with Armstrong’s family. In fact, I’d say that First Man’s ability to switch so naturally between the two is probably one of my favourite aspects of the film overall. There’s enough information for things to be interesting and informative, but at its core, there’s also a lot of heart to First Man.
Ryan Gosling portrays Neil Armstrong and yet again he proves himself to be one of the best actors working today. What can I say it’s no secret the man’s a real idol of mine, but there’s a perfectly good reason for that. I genuinely believe him to be a real talent to behold, I mean if you watch something like Crazy, Stupid, Love – he’s hilarious! That’s a hard acting trait to find, someone who can deliver both drama and comedy in equal measure. But in this particular film, it’s also worth noting that Claire Foy does a splendid job as Armstrong’s wife, then, of course, you’ve also got the likes of Jason Clarke and Kyle Chandler.
First Man packs more atmosphere than an abandoned manor house in the middle of the night, it does a fantastic job of putting you in the pilot’s seat and making you feel all the same worries and tensions as Armstrong once did. It’s crazy because despite knowing exactly how the film is going to end, every single launch sequence seems to put you on the edge of your seat and I definitely think that’s a credit to Chazelle’s direction.
While I was watching First Man though it suddenly occurred to me that this didn’t really feel like a Damien Chazelle film, I mean for starters it didn’t have the same rooting in music that La La Land and Whiplash had. But if you look at the bigger picture though both those films were about dreamers, people willing to go above and beyond to achieve their wildest dreams. It’s a story as old as time, but even after all these years, it’s still just as fascinating as ever because the journey is different every time.
And so with that, I just wish to sign off this review by saying if First Man is still showing at a cinema near you, go see it, now! It truly is a masterpiece of filmmaking and only serves to further highlight just what an incredible human being Neil Armstrong was.