Review: Set in the backdrop of the US-Soviet space race, First Man offers an intimate look into the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man to ever set foot in space. The film has an ensemble cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Christopher Abbott and Jason Clarke among others.
Gosling, playing the titular character, slips into the role effortlessly. He’s just as convincing as the grieving father, as he is as a man determined to overcome every obstacle in his path to destiny. Claire Foy is brilliant as well, essaying the role of a supporting wife, a part similar to her work in Breathe opposite Andrew Garfield. The movie is definitely about the events leading up to mankind’s maiden voyage to the moon, but it’s also about the people who sacrificed their lives to achieve this feat and their families. The pacing is a bit slow at the start and to be fair, the beginning should have been condensed a bit, but it gets rewarding around the fifty-minute mark.
What I particularly liked is that the director makes sure that the audience is not distracted by patriotic hyperbole. The amazing background score only matches the breath-taking cinematography. The moon landing scenes have been shot on IMAX cameras and you have to watch it to appreciate it. First Man begs to be experienced on the big screen and if you missed it, do yourself a favour and watch it on a 4K TV with surround sound. Anything less would be unfair.
My rating is 4/5.
Who should watch this: Two kinds of audiences will really love this film. One kind, who loves space flicks like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar or Gravity and the other kind being Ryan Gosling fans who loved his intense work in movies like Blade Runner 2049, Drive, The Big Short or The Ides Of March.