Review: First Man

first man premier

Everyone loves a true story told on the big screen. The reality of the story and its characters easily resonates with and captures the eye of moviegoers. Now off the back of a best director Oscar for La La Land, jazzy director Damien Chazelle tries his hand at the biopic.

With a script from the Oscar winning co-writer of Spotlight, Josh Singer, and aided again by seemingly frequent collaborator, Ryan Gosling, Chazelle embarks on a biopic that surprisingly hasn’t been done to this scale before. Fortunately, like the Apollo 11, First Man is a roaring success, living up to the match made in heaven its director, writer and stars boast it to be.

Singer’s script is excellent, telling an assured account of history, but with a personal focus on its subject. Singer writes an emotionally resonant film that explores the complexities of its real life characters. First Man is not only an interesting portrayal of history, but a truly gripping character study as well.

With a great script to work with, Damien Chazelle directs a stellar movie. The close ups, shaky camera and loud, erratic sounds of the films many dangerous space tests, create such impactful tension. All putting you in the middle of the action with the fearful astronauts. Chazelle channels the tension of Whiplash, but also the sensitivity of La La Land. He directs the personal story with the perfect amount of heart. Tonally, First Man hits all the right emotional beats. The script and direction work perfectly together to create an exciting but also emotionally gripping experience.

Gosling is Oscar worthy as Neil Armstrong, a socially awkward man who dedicates himself to his work after the loss of his infant daughter. It’s a humble and melancholy performance that proves Gosling to be the perfect choice for the role. Additionally, Clare Foy is outstanding as Janet, a wife and mother living with the constant fear for Neil’s life and consequence of his potential death. Foy steals the show when given the opportunity in a performance that is brimming with both passion and frustration.

But, will First Man follow on from La La Land as Oscar worthy?

With a cast and crew at the top of their game, First Man proves to be as good on the big screen as it looks on paper. Chazelle does justice to a script that’s one part historical adventure and one part complex character study. Alongside an extremely competent and tonally diverse director, the film is complete with spellbinding star performances. First Man is the result of perfect synergy and is a clear front runner for the 2019 Oscars.