Damien Chazelle returns to the director chair in 2018’s 'First Man’, a Neil Armstrong biopic; following the story of the first man to walk on the moon and the difficulties and obstacles he faced to achieve his goals. Now for parents who intend to take their children for this film should be aware that it's not exactly a film for children given that it has many concepts that will be rather difficult for a child under the age of 12 to grasp. Just as well there are few uses of profane language to be aware of and the film’s incredibly long 2 hours 21-minute runtime. On one thing, the film has any positive messages of resilience and determination for kids to follow. Essentially even showing them how hard work and determination can get them anywhere even to the moon.
So, “First Man” follows Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong from his days as a pilot, to his induction into NASA. It also closely follows a very personal side or Armstrong, particularly to do with his family and how the mission to the moon did not just take a toll on him as a man but also how much this affected his family and his relationship with his wife Janet(played by Claire Foy).
Ryan Gosling delivers an incredibly emotive performance showing audiences a whole different side of Armstrong behind the glory of the moon landing. However, Gosling's performance is ultimately victim to shallow writing, leaving his character to be quite two dimensional. This is especially evident when compared to Claire Foy’s character, Janet Armstrong. One could actually feel that she delivers a very powerful performance with quite raw emotion. Perhaps Foy’s character received much better writing than that of Gosling's which is an absolute shame given Gosling's acting prowess.
The cinematography and direction of the film under director Damien Chazelle is absolutely brilliant. Chazelle’s excellent skills in framing and his use of lighting are incredibly visible in this movie, particularly in the climax of the film where the moon landing takes place. The sound design in this scene stood out as well as it captured what it may be like to actually be on the moon and fly across the stars, heating every little creak and feeling every shake on the space shuttle.
In summation 'First Man’ is definitely an enjoyable, dramatic film. However, Ryan Gosling's talents are unfortunately wasted and the long runtime leaves one feeling awfully fatigued.