Biography Drama

TIFF Review: ‘First Man’

September 16, 2018Rattan Mutti

In First Man, director Damien Chazelle returns for his fourth feature film, taking on the journey of Neil Armstrong and the events that led up to the historic Moon landing.

First Man stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, just when his journey through the space program starts to take off as he is working as an engineer and a test pilot. But as NASA puts an emphasis on pushing the space program to get a man on the moon, Armstrong is put through the wringer and must come to terms with a haunting part of his past.

Chazelle does a wonderful job of conveying the danger that is associated with space travel, making movies like Apollo 13 pail in comparison in terms of just how difficult space travel is, especially considering the era when Armstrong was travelling. The camera placement and sound mixing all come together to make it a visceral and eye-popping experience. But holding this back is Josh Singer's script which doesn't match up with Chazelle's ability to add a vibrant aspect to the film. Still, First Man is at its best when it focuses on Armstrong's struggles, showcasing the beauty of the great beyond and what it takes to accomplish such a task.

First Man makes its Canadian premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 2 hrs. 13 min.

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