Reviews for First Man ( 2018 ) 720p

To experience the impossible journey

By: TheLittleSongbird
'First Man' intrigued me from the get go. It was based on one of the most important and fascinating true stories and achievements there's ever been, and a very interesting man. It had talented actors such as Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy, both of whom have done a lot of fine work. And it was directed by Damien Chazelle, responsible for 'Whiplash' and 'La La Land' which for me were both among the best of their respective years.

Seeing 'First Man', there is a lot to admire and it was not a problem for me that it took a different approach and an unconventional way of executing a biopic. Can see why 'First Man' hasn't connected with others though, it is a polarising film where one can see both sides of like and dislike and part of me was a little disappointed. With so much going for it, one expects a great film but 'First Man' for me was only good and not as good as 'Whiplash' and 'La La Land'. Ranking it amongst other 2018 films seen, it's nowhere near among the worst it also falls short of being one of the best.

Starting with the not so good things, 'First Man' runs a little too long, something that would have been solved by trimming a few of the scenes that went on longer than they needed to. Which would have tightened some of the pacing, some of the film drags.

At times structurally it's disjointed, with some of the back and forth not always clear while aspects could have been delved into further. Do have to agree too sadly that the shakiness of the camera work was excessive at times, did feel queasiness on occasions. The ending felt anti-climactic.

However, on the most part 'First Man' is visually stunning. It's immaculately designed and there is a lot of atmosphere and elegance in the way it's shot, an effective claustrophobia in the more tense scenes being evoked. Not everybody has liked the music, personally found it very haunting and like with 'Whiplash' and 'La La Land' Chazelle's utilisation of it is masterly. Chazelle's unique directing style is all over the film.

The script is intelligent and thought-provoking and while the storytelling was not perfect mostly it did engross me and boasts some thrillingly tense moments (like one of my favourite opening scenes of the year), a subtle intimacy and emotional power. The human drama is affecting and the training and flight sequences tight and have a suitable tension and grandeur. The characters are not what one calls likeable but there is a realism to them and 'First Man' is very strongly acted. Ryan Gosling shows a remarkable ability of conveying a lot without having to say a lot in scenes while Claire Foy provides the film's emotional heft magnificently. There is a detachment in their chemistry but that worked considering the situation, coping with grief and loss does drive a wedge and push people away. The rest of the cast do well, with Corey Stoll surprisingly providing one of the more colourful performances.

Summing up, good but could have been better. Not a giant leap in film-making, not a small step either. 7/10 Bethany Cox

Thru the eyes of the first man

By: daniel-dippel
I now laugh when I reread some of the negative reviews - to summarize: it made me have motion sickness so I left, didn't develop the orher characters enough, too somber and brooding, didn't cover all of the events of Niel Armstrongs career, etc. Well, most of these individuals missed the point of the movie or don't understand this genre of storytelling. It is a first person account basically told through the eyes of the first person to walk on the moon. I found this refreshing and not your typical Hollywood approach of trying to fit too much, too thinly for such an epic sweeping story that covers decades and dozen of key figures. It could have been 3-3.5 hours long. Yes, it could have been a TV mini-series or two (or more) movies. I love that it was told through the eyes of one central figure. Told through the eyes of the man that all of the accumulated effort of thousands of people and billions of dollars spent to accomplish one goal before the Soviets and for humankind - having a human step foot on the moon for the first time. I cannot remember a cinematic experience that got me as close to experiencing what it was truly like to be there first hand, in the drivers seat if you will, or better put, insabely strapped into a coffin fixed atop a massive liquid fuel explosion. How any person would be brave enough to face this, be able to perform well while in the thick of it and want to do it again and again is beyond words (or sanity). With death and fear all around no wonder there was a dark cloud hanging over everyone. I am sure all of us have marvelled at what has been accomplished by the NASA space missions especially Apollo. The movie Apollo 13 was a very good story that I thought put me as close to being an Astronaut as i could get. I was wrong. So, go and see First Man. Go and let yourself become THE astronaut. THE first human that was there at the very top of a giant pyramid of people because many before had made the ultimate sacrifice to make possible one giant leap for mankind. i will never look at another manned space vehicle, past or present, or astronaut again the same way,

Very Disappointed

By: igregor
This movie is tedious and melodramatic. The audio quality of the radio chatter is unintelligible. The human relationships are one dimensional. The special effects feel like they were shot inside of a 1950s vintage tilt-a-whirl amusement park ride. And what's with all the dirt and grime on the knobs and bulkheads inside what were supposed to be brand new (at the time) space capsules? The memory of Neil Armstrong deserves better -- way better.

Like watching a metronome.

By: biggiebaby
Gosling at his one dimensional best. Cluncky and disjointed, the story rides along like a low budget wannabe art film, but, with high budget actors. No character development to speak of just long lonesome staring off to the right of the camera lens. With the possible exception of the ubiquitous wife/mother scene demanding emotions from the husband/father. First Man Joins the ranks of movies you'll watch once and never again.

Excellent Understated Biopic

By: Jared_Andrews
The opening scene will take your breath away. I don't think a single cell in my body flinched for a solid five minutes as I watched Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) fight to keep his craft from floating away into space. The scene is spectacular visually and in every sense of filmmaking execution. It's also a bit misleading.

The rest of the movie, aside from the moon landing, is remarkably tame. It's quiet. There are virtually no loud outbursts or emotional speeches. This story is about people doing their jobs, completing their missions. Gosling understands this and plays to Armstrong's stoicism perfectly. He is often an understated actor, choosing to let his subtle facial movements and glints of the eyes do as much talking as what actually comes out of his mouth. Neil is much the same except even less outwardly expressive. He clearly comes from a generation that did not display emotion. They suffered in silence, which no doubt frustrated many family members, especially spouses.

Armstrong's wife Janet (Claire Foy) is a classic case of a spouse desperate to glimpse beyond his emotional shield. She restrains for the most part, but her building frustration is apparent throughout. When she finally does unleash her emotions, it's startling. Her outbursts stand out in such stark contrast to the silence that we see from the other characters. Foy is smart and measured with every choice she makes, and she never comes across as unhinged or overly supportive to a point of unbelievability. She's strong as a quiet devoted partner and strong when she senses the need to speak up. Look for her to add another award nomination to her resume come that time of year.

For as great as Gosling and Foy are, Damien Chazelle is the star of this movie, just like he has been the star of every one of his movies. I don't mean this as a bad thing. They guy is simply so skilled at what he does that his impact stands out among all the other standouts in his movies. He doesn't take the conventional approach to a space movie, which is to hammer viewers with showy visuals and action sequences. He's careful not to overdo it those areas, instead focusing on Armstrong's psyche and life outside the space shuttle. Chazelle crafts a personal, intimate film and shoots it in a creative way that uses a variety of framing choices so the closeups never feel stale.

This is a giant story told on a deliberately small scale. The choice to focus on Armstrong's objectively less captivating homelife rather than the moon mission is risky. Only the most talented of filmmakers, which Chazelle is, could pull it off. "First Man" is another showcase of Chazelle's mastery. He's one of the best directors currently working. The fact that this film may eventually be considered Chazelle's 6th or 7th best and is still this excellent, is a tribute to his talent.

Fails to deliver

By: generalthought
The movie was generally factually accurate.

However, any good movie should accomplish 3 objectives:1. Educational - achieved in 'First Man'2. Enlightening - failed3. Entertaining - failed

Movie goers are likely to leave the movie feeling quite flat.

Not recommended.

Way too slow and untidy camera work

By: phil-160-338997
Came watching this with high expectations but was kinda bored by it, actually my wife did literally fall asleep in the cinema.

As many have said there were too many facial close ups and too much shakiness, a lot less would have worked.

The story made Buzz Aldrin out to be very dislikable and totally put Mike Collins into the back ground. Whilst this film is about Neil Armstrong these guys also went to the moon (apparently) too, so a little bit more respect with their characters would have been nice.

This film had great potential but it focussed to heavily in many wrong areas and this was it's ultimate let down.

Save your money and wait for hit to hit the internet.

First Man (to leave the theater)

By: marconjx
In my opinion First Man fails on multiple levels. From a historical perspective, there is nearly no conveyance to the audience about the political motivation that was behind the entire program to get an American on the Moon before the Soviets. The Soviets' lead in the "space race" prior to the Apollo program had been considered an existential threat in the struggle for the hearts and minds of humanity and the American government considered it essential to win the race to the Moon. While the American flag is seen at a distance next to the lunar module, the actual planting of the flag on the moon was, in a certain sense, the entire raison d'ĂȘtre for the Apollo program and yet this moment was completely ignored by director Chazelle, making such a blatant omission seem an intentional anti-American political statement.From a cinematic perspective, Chazelle seems obsessive in his constant use of closeups for even mundane moments and downright abusive in his use of "shaky shots" during moments of physical trauma. I always feel "cheated" when a director wimps out by an excessive use of shaky-shots as a cheap way to avoid the expense and creative effort otherwise required to depict what is actually happening to cause trauma.From an acting and character development perspective, none of the characters gain our sympathy or empathy in this film. Its as if they are all reading their lines from a script rather than investing themselves with the spirit of the people they are supposed to be portraying. Armstrong, in particular, is portrayed by Gosling as extremely unemotional and cool, even when saying goodbye, perhaps forever, to his wife and children. And while Armstrong may or may not have been that way, it seems overdone in this film. Strangest of all was Claire Foy's depiction of Janet Armstrong who is portrayed as constantly annoyed with her husband and resentful of the sacrifices he had to make as the first human selected to set foot on the moon. I find it hard to believe that Armstrong's wife could have been this way in reality and if she was not then Chazelle and Foy have done her a great disservice.Finally, from a story-arc perspective, the movie's pace is plodding with Chazelle spending way too much time on the familial interactions of the Armstrong clan. While this may stem from the fact the movie was based on a biography of Armstrong rather than upon a depiction of the Apollo mission itself, the fact that this was, as far as I know, the first major cinematic portrayal of mankind's first voyage to the moon really deserved a much more expansive treatment than it receives in this film.I am confident that this film will not be, nor should it be, the definitive telling of America's triumphant landing of man on the moon, a story that is epic and will require a director with an epic vision to tell the tale. It is with regret that I say that this movie and this director were not up to that task.

Glacially-paced, muddled film

By: rac701
"First Man," the highly anticipated (partial) bio-pic about Neil Armstrong, the commander of NASA's Apollo 11 mission and the first man (thus the title) to walk on the moon, is a muddled mess.

Director Damien Chazelle's film-making choices, from shaky, way-too-close cinema verite close-ups and long, long silences (OK, OK, we know Neil Armstrong was a Silent Sam type) to banging, shaking, roaring and rattling blackout shots where the viewer can't understand what's going on, to lack of exposition (about precisely that -- what's going on), to Armstrong's constantly angry wife, are not only disorienting, but unpleasantly distracting.

This film can't hold a candle to superior films like "The Right Stuff," "Apollo 13," or the excellent made-for-cable HBO series "From the Earth to the Moon."

Neil Armstrong deserved much better than this.

It felt genuine but left me bored

By: fallyhag
The attempt to make it all feel dated and real worked well. There were no glossy space scenes. Add some interesting sounds and a lot of shakes can and the overal scene approach works.

But then there is the story. We all know what happens. So it was just about the angle they approached it at. Unfortunately they picked the boring angle.

The struggle with grieving was irritating. The lack of substance in the characters was disappointing. The frame was non existent. The length too long. The outcome underwhelming. The ending an anti climatic relief.

I will remember this film for the dirty toilets, great acting and my repeated checking of my watch. If you want to learn a tiny bit then watch it. But it is sadly no masterpiece. Let down but the story telling...

Recommend? Yes. On a Sunday...

Shake it all about

By: duncl-68438
This is certainly no Apollo 13

Instead of special effects they just keep shaking the camera relentlessly.There again they couldn't even film Janet Armstrong walking down her drive without shaking the camera a bit. Despite all the advances in CGI they could have probably made this on a small budget back in 1975.

It is noticeable that what I believe to be stock NASA footage like the LEM taking off is way smoother and more watchable than other bits of "Spaceflight"

There are too many close ups and not enough story telling. If Neil Armstrong really was so brooding then maybe they should of featured more of other characters like Buzz Aldrin who in his few scenes actually comes across as an enthusiastic guy.

Do not go if you suffer motion sickness!!

By: deeble185
I went to see this movie with my partner, her mother and a 14 year old cousin. While we all appreciated it, that was the strongest recommendation from any of us. My major problem with the film was the "action" camera work. While I understand that hand held shots lead to a greater sense of immediacy, having the camera 10 cm away from the subject and shaking it violently did not draw me in, rather it repulsed me. I literally closed my eyes for any sequence where this effect was used, as it was hurting me to watch it. As far as the story goes, it felt incredibly slow and distanced. In the interpretation of Armstrong as a person, it seemed to drive me away from relating to him or the situation, and I had no sense of the grandeur or the excitement that should have accompanied such a story. I was tempted to see this movie by the 2013 webby award winning site, and I can still say that the actual recordings are much more engaging than this film.

Bore-opic

By: peggynight-24258
Overall, I have to say, I found this pretty boring. Felt like I'd gone to church or something, if you can dig that type of boredom. Kind of a bewildered boredom that you can't put your finger on, but you know you'd have rather been doing something else. Almost anything else.

Yes, it told the story from the human side, from the side of a father and husband. Yes it was nice that the film wasn't over-glamorised with a whole heap of American chest-beating and back-slapping; if anything it showed the petty pride of the space race perhaps for what it was: a dick-swinging contest. And yes, it showed just how primitive 60s tech was, as though they were being strapped into a rocket-tomb. But boy is this film dry. When it ended I felt underwhelmed and wanting more.

Great acting from the two leads, who held the space really well. Certainly didn't find this 'visually stunning' as some reviews have said; I thought the visual treatment of the film was well considered and appropriate in that it felt very mid 60s. In fact, that's how I'd describe the film: considered and appropriate. Except for the music/score, which was c grade. But do we go to films because they're considered and appropriate? I know my father does. Yawn.

Get out of their faces!

By: DosLenyos
Close-up, after close-up, after close-up. The director of photography should be dragged outside and tarred and feathered. As if the capsule scenes weren't claustrophobic enough, did every scene with the actors have to be so tightly cropped? Gosling is not a serious actor - his portrayal of a true American hero was exhausting. Also, why do directors these days cast actors in roles of real historical people that do not even closely resemble them (Buzz Aldrin excluded)? It makes it hard to follow who is who, especially since a lot of the characters are not well developed at all. Skip it at the cineplex and watch it on video.

One of the most momentous events in history, turned into a depressing drag.

By: brianjsmith-86408
If you are thinking this is going to be a fun, great movie like Apollo 13, well, just rent Apollo 13 and watch that one again.

I've been a 'space-nut' and an aficionado of NASA and the space program since I was a kid in the 70's. I'm not sure how they could have made a movie about Neil Armstrong and the first moon landing more sobby-eyed or depressing. It managed to capture none of the majesty, grandeur, or scope of the undertaking- it was just a wet-blanket of constant angst.

The close ups were so close-up that they made you want to back right out of the theater, and were shot in a way to make them resemble shaky-handed home-video footage shot on a hand-held. The camera just refused to hold still for anything in this movie, and it was infuriating.

I'm sure, at least at a few points in his life, Neil Armstrong cracked a smile. You wouldn't think so from watching this. I know he shunned public attention, but I find it impossible to believe Neil Armstrong could possibly have been as lifeless and wooden as he was portrayed in this film. Foy's portrayal of his wife came across even colder and less joyful than her depiction of Queen Elizabeth.

Sorely disappointing. 6/10, and I feel that's being fairly generous.

The gloomiest, saddest, darkest movie in a very long time

By: mkaronis
Something went very wrong with this movie. Apollo 13 - a grandiose movie about a failed mission, while this one is a failed movie about the most outstanding, successful human mission so far. What a wreck!

The Wrong Stuff

By: aylwardpaul
Boring and self-important. The photography of nearly all action scenes is a real disappointment. The film misses way too many opportunities to tell what should be an enthralling story. You are better served watching The Right Stuff, The Martian, or Apollo 13.

One of the dullest movies I have ever seen.

By: joppawilliam
Dull does not begin to describe this tediously slow and poorly directed film. No chemistry between any of the actors. Bad dialog, long blank stares, and jerky camera work. I like historical dramas, but this has to be one of the worst films I've seen in the last 20 years.

A beautifully told and respectable portrait of the famous astronaut's life and the significance of his contribution to human history

By: MrDHWong
First Man is a historical biographical drama film based on the life of astronaut Neil Armstrong, directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash, La La Land). Starring Ryan Gosling in the lead role, it paints a beautifully told and respectable portrait of the famous astronaut's life and the significance of his contribution to human history.

In the 1960s, the space race between the USA and the USSR is at its peak, with the latter having a clear lead over the former. In attempt to outdo the Soviets, the United States plans a manned mission to the moon, with astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) being the first to set foot on the lunar surface. Despite the deep personal losses he has endured throughout his training and in his home life, Armstrong agrees to the mission, knowing full well that he may not come back alive.

Superbly directed and acted, the film is less a story about the space race itself and more about the struggles and perseverance of titular first man. Ryan Gosling gives what could very well be the performance of his career. His nuanced depiction of Neil Armstrong shows the audience how much the astronaut has to lose if he does not survive such a monumental journey. Claire Foy is also worth noting as Armstrong's first wife Janet. Her concern and worry for her husband's safe return from the moon were brilliantly represented during the film's more emotional scenes. Director Damien Chazelle demonstrates his talent for creative cinematography, showing the vastness of space and how small and insignificant Earth is in comparison. Films like this truly emphasise how much mankind has accomplished in the short amount of time we have existed and further highlight how much more is needed to be done.

I rate it a solid 9/10

Dizzying (not in a good way), slow and a bit boring

By: b-nice
I am not a film critic or student of the arts, but I do appreciate a good movie and, in my opinion, this was not one. The movie moves at a snail's pace and Chazelle's decision to shoot the majority of the movie with shaky handhelds and extreme closeups led to some real dizzying feelings for me and my wife. I felt a sense of claustrophobia the entire film due to the extreme close up and jump cuts. Maybe I am a bit dense and this is what the filmmaker was going for, but it made it a very uncomfortable experience. I kept waiting for him to pan out!

The actual story was a bit long and tedious and we never felt any real connection with the characters. The most intriguing character in the film was Buzz Aldrin and he was passed by -- I need someone to make Second Man!!! :-).

Overall, not a pleasant night at the movies.