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First Man - Honest Movie Review

Directed by the Youngest Academy Award-Winning Director Damien Chazelle, First Man stars Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy in the lead roles and chronicles the inspiring yet complex journey of the First Man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong. The storyline gets underway in the year 1961 and takes us through the eight-year journey of Neil Armstrong till the Apollo 11 mission. It delves into the personal life of Armstrong, him dealing with the loss of his young child, getting promoted from a test pilot to the Mission Commander, and his complicated relationship with his wife, friends and family.

Verdict - "A Heart-Stirring Theatre Experience!"

Damien Chazelle is without a doubt, the main star of the film. Right from the opening scene, Chazelle locks you in with his incredible ability to make you feel that you're right there sitting next to Armstrong in his hypersonic rocket-powered aircraft. The most captivating aspect that Chazelle stands by throughout the runtime is not sugar coating the film. He doesn't display the epicness of space-travel as we saw in movies like 'Apollo 13' or 'Gravity' nor does he use extravagant shots of the Moon or the Earth to make us believe that it's all happiness and joy comprised in travelling to the ether. His unique filmmaking style helps the movie to feel much raw as every scene including the spaceships felt real, brutal and visceral accompanied by some extraordinary camera work by Cinematographer Linus Sandgren who uses the shaky cam gimmick in the right away and gave the movie more of a documentary look than a space drama.

But the only drawback of the film lies within the protagonist's character which slows down the pace a bit. Neil Armstrong is a very professional, stubborn and has his separate ways of dealing with his family problems or the passing of his young daughter. That might not be relatable or engaging to the audience member as we do not see Armstrong getting disturbed emotionally with his past experiences nor having a healthy conversation with his concerned wife. However, it is what it is, and as I stated before, Chazelle doesn't try to get you sympathetically connected to his focal characters. He makes it very clear that it's not an easy journey for anyone involved and sacrifices were over it.

Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy's performances were yet another plus point for the movie. Gosling, similar to his previous outings in 'Blade Runner 2049' or 'Drive' is a silent murmuring guy, but he had a wide range of emotions to go through from anguish, aggravation and self-confidence. Foy, on the other hand, did her part exceptionally well as the stern mother of two kids and the fretful wife of Armstrong. Her character clocked up a substantial chunk of the storyline, and it never felt mundane to watch.

Overall, First Man is unlike any space movie I've ever seen before. It's harsh, emotional, gut-wrenching and the most realistic take in this genre. Everything from Chazelle's remarkable direction, breathtaking camera work, soothing background music and the performances from the lead actors worked and is most definitely a heart-stirring theatre experience.

My Rating - 4/5 | Grade - A (The Best One Around!)
-An Honest Movie Review by Surya Komal aka KM (@SuryaKomal)
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