Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

First Man

Almost great. Pretty close. There is some really great stuff in First Man. First off, there are the flight scenes, which really aim to put you in the driver’s seat, so to speak. Chazelle does this by lots of first person views and pulling the camera in tight. it really gives you a sense of the danger these guys were in, and was quite exhilarating. There are essentially three main scenes where we see this: one at the beginning, middle, and end. They are all unique and all work very well.

The other major plus to First Man is Ryan Gosling. He has put in yet another excellent performance. He crafts a very interesting character (its weird saying character about a real-life figure, but apt at the same time I think) in Neil Armstrong. He’s one of those men who speak seldom, but when he does its time to listen. I absolutely loved the scene where he is interviewed for the space program, and would actually put that right up there with the three big space set pieces.

But the character also comes across strong in smaller moments and basic lines of dialogue that work not just because of the writing, but also because Gosling’s delivery is spot on. Parts like when Aldrin is talking about Astronauts who just died and says “I’m just saying what we’re all thinking”, he simply replies with “Well, maybe you shouldn’t.” Its a great example of understanding a character through the simplest of means.

So what holds it back fro greatness? Its the home story, sad to say. Learning about his life at home is important as it brings this legend from the history books down to earth.. It also gives us some emotional context with his daughter’s illness. but in the second half of the movie, the relationship aspects with Mrs. Armstrong and his sons doesn’t really work. It feels obligatory more than anything, and I really think the film would have benefited from scaling back a bit on the home life aspect.

Its still one of the better movies of 2018 to be sure.


2 Responses to “First Man”

  1. Nice review Ian. It’s a bit of a slog, but by the end, it grabs you.

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