Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Josh Singer
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy
Damien Chazelle is quickly becoming one of my top two or three directors working today, and quite possibly my favorite young director. “Whiplash” and “La La Land” are two of my favorite movies of this decade, the latter being quite possibly my favorite of the decade. “First Man” is certainly another home run for Chazelle. “First Man” is far from the first film – or version for any media – about the NASA program or the space race between America and the USSR. I do believe this is the first to focus on American culture hero Neil Armstrong specifically.
Chazelle achieves something that other depictions of the space program and other science fiction films for that matter have not done; he manages to make the experience visceral. At least as visceral as the medium of film allows. You are in the cockpit at taking off and on the moon. “First Man” is the closest that most people will get to venturing into space and stepping onto the moon.
“First Man” is a stunning film in every sense of the word, criticism accuses the film of being cold. I disagree, for two reasons; one happens at the start of the movie, and this event is a defining moment for Armstrong. The second closes the picture and starts related to the first and ends the film with anything but coldness.
I have only two thoughts to close out this review of “First Man.” The first being, why not release this movie on July 20, 2019? Seems like a missed opportunity not to release the movie on that date. The second is problematic, and I am shocked that I am the only one concerned about this… where are the whalers on the moon? How dare Chazelle play fast and loose with the facts like that.