Entertainment Hive 2020

First Man

Director: Damien Chazelle Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Ciaran Hinds, Patrick Fugit, Kyle Chandler, Lukas Haas, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James Plot: A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling), and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Verdict: First Man is as much about the arduous journey to the moon as it is about the man who made that first step. Based on J.R. Hansen’s book, First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong, Damien Chazelle’s all-encompassing film about the early years of the space race from 1961 to 1969 is a grand, immersive and engaging ride. The film looks at what drove this stoic engineer – his personal tragedies, his family life and his work life which includes the seemingly insurmountable task of flying to the moon. Chazelle has deftly captured the moment in its stark beauty and overwhelming heartbreak as he shoots for the stars to bring this story to life. There’s the politics of the space race between the US and Russia, there’s the simmering relationship between Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his wife, Janet (Claire Foy) and the intriguing dynamics between Armstrong and the other space pioneers. All the while the moon shines down, tantalisingly close but so far away. Gosling gives a riveting performance as the intensely private and completely driven astronaut who keeps his emotions in check at all times. It’s thoughtful and powerful work. Foy is a wonderful foil to Gosling’s moody, heroic Armstrong as she fights to have him release some emotions. Foy is, perhaps, a little under-utilised in the film, but her scene with Armstrong and their two boys before he takes off on the Apollo 13 flight is riveting. The ensemble cast featuring Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll and Patrick Fugit as Armstrong’s fellow astronauts is superb as is the dramatic and moving musical score by Justin Hurwitz. This film is a visual treat and a stellar ride. (Films are rated out of five stars)
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