Damien Chazelle Makes First Man Visually Stunning| TIFF 18
On January 28, 1986, I remember the Space Shuttle Challenger having an astronaut who was a person of color named Ronald McNair and how excited I was to witness such rarity. Less than 73 seconds after blast-off the shuttle broke apart killing all seven crew members including McNair, Francis R. Scobee, Michael J. Smith, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe. Like most Americans, I was devastated. I had never seen such a sight and immediately realized that these individuals sacrificed their existence for science.
They knew the risk and took the responsibility anyway. But, what happens when those decisions bear real consequences for you, your family and everyone’s mental stability?
Neil Armstrong along with John Glenn and Buzz Aldrin were the first meant to walk on the moon successfully. It was a great moment in American history marked by these famous words uttered by Aldrin “That’s one small step for man – One giant leap for mankind.”
Based on the James R. Hansen book, First Man gives audiences a glimpse into the humanity and personal tragedy of one man while trying to make history the space program and American.
Damien Chazelle is master manipulator of cinema. He knows exactly what to do with a camera to make you feel like you are physically experiencing this film from the astronaut perspective directly from your set. It’s cinematically beautiful and the seamless weaving of archival footage and audio is fabulous.
While I was fascinated by this story and it was beautiful to watch, it moved a little slow for me and the performances were just ok. The exception would be Claire Foy. Her confrontation scene where she insist Neil explain to the kids that he may not come back from space is very powerful. But, I would recommend this film for anyone with a healthy obsession over space.
Produced by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, First Man orbits into theaters on October 12th.