Thursday, October 18, 2018

First Man (2018)

Beautiful vistas, good acting, fascinating subject matter, but a slow and nauseating movie-watching experience!

Landing on the moon was perhaps the biggest human achievement of 20th century. You would hardly find somebody who doesn't know who the first man on the moon was, and what statement he made when he took that small step for a man, but a giant leap for mankind.

First Man follows Neil Armstrong's journey throughout the 1960's and shows his rise from a test pilot to the most celebrated astronaut of all time. The journey was filled with personal losses, sacrifices, trials and tribulations.

Ryan Gosling brings in his usually focused, yet cold and detached persona to the movie. I watched some interviews with the real Neil Armstrong that were filmed after the moon landing. I found his personality to be modest and somewhat cheerful, which is not the same as Gosling's personification. But I'm sure Gosling and Damien Chazelle (the director) have done their background research diligently, and what they depicted in the movie is perhaps accurate to that point in Armstrong's life.

Cinematography of the First Man is simply breathtaking! It takes you to that claustrophobic cockpit with Armstrong and co on their flight to the moon. This faithful depiction also makes you feel every bump and shake, and this 'virtual reality' made me somewhat nauseous! That said, the cinematography is surely a contender comes the award season this year.

In addition to the eerie and melancholic characterization of Armstrong and his wife, and the nauseating flight scenes, the pace of the movie was slow with no payoff. Ending the movie with a dark feeling and no payoff is quite disappointing considering that the story ends with ultimate climax in human history (i.e., landing on the moon)!

Fans of cinematography will appreciate the film, but the other aspects of the movie were underwhelming and below my expectations. But for the beautiful shots, I'd give it a 6.5/10.

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