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First Man

Published May 11, 2019

First Man

Film info

  • Title First Man
  • Director Damien Chazelle
  • Year 2018
  • Run time 2hrs 21m
  • Genres Drama, History
  • Tagline One giant leap into the unknown

From Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling, First Man is the riveting and triumphant story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the events leading to the extraordinary Apollo 11 flight - one of the most dangerous missions in history.

Live blog

TimeComment
3:41I mean, the going up is just as scary as the coming down at this point!
6:22You sort of know about the early tests they must have done but that was amazing and visceral.
10:11“Who made that, you or Grace? I’ll take it then.”
18:11For a shy guy, he talks the good talk in interviews.
19:46“It’ll be an adventure.” And then some.
22:33He’s saying Gemini weirdly.
30:29How casually they talk about these absolutely ground-breaking activities.
39:48“Do you think I’m standing out here in the back yard because I want to talk to somebody?’
42:55The angles on this are genius. It’s so scary.
55:55The Mission Control cheering is the only reason to watch these movies.
1:03:49So stressful, but so good.
1:04:34They can’t think turning off the box is the right thing to do, of course she’s going to want answers.
1:06:47Always herald NASA and aviation debriefs but it still must be hard to answer all those questions.
1:08:46“I picked Neil because I wanted a normal life.” That went SO wrong.
1:19:26Just awful.
1:29:27OK is all he says. Like it’s not all their dreams.
1:32:59“I’m packing.” FOR THE MOON.
1:44:50That moment when the blue skies go black and it all goes quiet. Oof.
1:52:00Never thought about poor Mike being left alone with the possibility of really being left alone.
2:00:14Amazing how inspirational those words still are despite knowing them so well, and everything about them. The eagle has landed. YES!
2:10:17The reward for an epic space mission is a month in a cell.
2:11:31“We choose to go to the moon and do all the other things…” Specific.

Thoughts

So many thoughts! First opinion is that this was an epic film on such a grand scale and just so moving. It captured me almost instantly, with that crazy stressful start to a movie and then it never let up.

The biggest highlight is the insanely good cinematography that grabs you, thrusts you into the heart of the action, makes you look at things differently and from angles that only the real participants could have seen, and then leaves you to deal with the consequences. I genuinely thought I was inside every rocket that Armstrong was in, I felt that claustrophobic and breathy intensity, and I was more than invested in every step he took.

It looked incredible. Essentially, space is almost entirely black and yet the film Gravity and the film First Man manage to portray it amazingly but differently. This one felt entirely separate to Gravity, despite being in the same location. It was matte, and black, and hard and sixties and gritty and real and brutal.

Talking of brutal, I realised a little way into the movie that the fire in the Apollo capsule was going to happen. I dreaded it and it happened and it was as awful as I thought. And yet so beautifully captured.

Of course there’s so much more to it than all of that. I really enjoyed the relationship between Armstrong and his wife. Claire Foy did such a good job, and portrayed such an inspirational woman: knowing that she needed to stand up for her family, but equally knowing that her husband had that spark of genius that means he’s not going to be able to deal with normal life the way other people can… I just loved that.

And then, on top of all that, it just inspired thoughts and debate about the space race, the necessity of it all, the legacy it leaves, and just what it all means. This one is going to stay with me for quite a while.

Rating: 5 / 5

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