Hello and welcome to the movie blog of author John DeFrank - FilmZ and Guy Sobriquet Malone - Researcher

First Man

First Man Review by FilmZ

We finally got the whole gang together (a rarity) and took Don Swedanya's hearse to the nearest IMAX, 30 miles away.  Ambrose had already seen First Man on a regular screen and was blown away, but he now believes that IMAX is the way to go, if possible.  Guy Malone, Researcher, and I agree; add in Justin Chang of the LA Times, and that gives us one person who knows what he's talking about.

Another thing all of us agree on is that Damien Chazelle's paean to Neil Armstrong is very good.  Despite his previous directorial achievements,  we were a bit concerned because the 33-year-old Chazelle has only two to his resume--Whiplash and LaLa Land--both musicals.  It is odd, then, to note that just about the only thing that doesn't work in his latest effort is frequent-collaborator Justin Hurwitz's score, which reminded us of LaLa Land's as performed on a theremin--which seems almost satirical, considering the context.  What does work is Josh Singer's screenplay, which emphasizes Armstrong's personal odyssey from early family tragedy to his step onto the Moon.

The cast is uniformly excellent.  The leads, Ryan Gosling as Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife Janet, give nuanced performances as a man whose response to tragedy is to turn inward as he throws himself into his work and a wife whose admiration for her husband grows even as her love fades.  Kyle Chandler (Deke Slayton) and Ciaran Hinds (Bob Gilruth) wrangle the Gemini and Apollo programs and their astronauts, most of whom are familiar names, all worthy of honor): Ed White (Jason Clarke), Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll), Elliott See (Patrick Fugit), Gus Grissom (Shea Whigham_, Dave Scott (Christopher Abbott), Jim Lovell (Pablo Schreiber), Mike Collins (Lukas Haas).  We should also mention Olivia Hamilton's touching performance as Pat White.
8.0 out of 10 on both Artistic and Entertainment Scales.


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