After his two masterpieces “Whiplash” and “La La Land,” director legend Damien Chazelle is moving away from Earth and into space. His Neil Armstrong biopic First Man brings us closer to the first man on the moon from a side we’ve never seen before – and all in breathtaking images! We reveal more about this in our review.
The Plot Summary
Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) is a former Navy pilot who has thrown himself into work since the tragic death of his two-year-old daughter. He clearly has one goal in mind: He wants to be the first person in history to set foot on the moon. But to achieve it, he has to take a long, rocky road on which many of his colleagues die. His wife Janet (Claire Foy) also notices this, as she exchanges ideas with other astronaut wives and realizes how she is gradually in danger of losing access to her husband. When she confronts him one day with her fear that one day she will no longer be able to hold Neil in her arms, the young man is faced with an inner conflict. Family or career? But he can’t think for long, because soon the phone rings and on the other end of the line he is offered an offer to fly to the moon…
First Man explanation of the ending
Since the beginning of his career, director and screenwriter Damien Chazelle has been considered the Hollywood’s new prodigy. At just 28 years old, he directed his feature film debut “Whiplash,” based on the short film of the same name, in just 19 days with world stars like JK Simmons, who even received an Oscar for best supporting actor. It also rained international film awards and recognition from the highest industry circles for the nostalgic Hollywood musical “La La Land”, while many forget that Chazelle was also responsible for such projects as “10 Cloverfield Lane” and “The Last Exorcism 2”, for which he was wrote the scripts long before or between his cinematic exploits. Will he continue his triumph with his latest project, the film adaptation of the Neil Armstrong biography “First Man”, or will all critics’ hopes that they discovered a new film legend years ago be dashed? Although his film received a small prestige dampener at the world premiere in Venice – they actually dared not to photograph the world-famous moment when astronauts Armstrong and Aldrin ram the US flag into the moon’s surface. No wonder: “Departure to the Moon” is not a patriotic hero film, but an intimate character portrait. And as such, Chazelle’s latest work is equal parts narrative and audiovisual masterpiece.
Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) on his way to the moon mission.
Gemini and Apollo – these are the two space projects on the basis of which the first manned flight to the moon was ultimately planned: the Apollo 11 mission. But “Heading for the Moon” is only secondary to the history of US space travel. Instead, in the tradition of the biography written by James R. Hansen, the focus is on the lives of the Armstrongs. “Spotlight” screenwriter John Singer makes a narrative statement right at the beginning: Armstrong’s daughter dies at the age of two and completely unbalances the previously stable family structure. Damien Chazelle’s film makes no secret of the fact that Neil Armstrong’s fierce ambition for the moon mission did not arise from a patriotic consciousness (the fact that the competition between the Americans and the Russians is also taking place is only made clear in “First Man”) briefly examined on the sidelines), but for a deeply emotional reason that Chazelle’s regular cameraman Linus Sandgren brilliantly captures in the final act of the film – a cinematic moment for eternity! Ryan Gosling (“The Place Beyond the Pines”) plays the internally torn and partly broken astronaut with all his willingness to make sacrifices and heads straight for his third Oscar nomination, while “The Crown” star Claire Foy initially seems to no longer be playing the role of the loving wife, but gradually becomes more and more of it stands up for yourself and your own ideals.
Narratively, “Departure to the Moon” is entirely a family drama that also doesn’t shy away from questioning the mission on a further, ethical level. Is it actually allowed to put human lives at risk for the sake of space research? How do the horrendous amounts of research relate to the benefits for ordinary citizens? And is it selfish, yourself against the family and for to decide his work as an astronaut? All of these elements add spice to the film, which is extremely entertaining despite its 140-minute running time and which also boasts spectacular visuals. “First Man” brings back memories of “Gravity”, “2001” and “Interstellar” with its crystal-clear, reduced-to-the-essential images, both from space and from Earth (and even by merging the two on the screen). which really come into their own in the iMax format. The technical effects are mostly haptic in nature. And once they come from the computer, they merge naturally with their surroundings, so that in “First Man” everything seems possible – you feel when Neil Armstrong is shot into space in the tiny space capsule and believe that the explosions are fire , of which there are several in the film, can be felt firsthand. Composer Justin Hurwitz, meanwhile, incorporates the topic of music as an essential aspect in the film, which often says more than the dialogue, which is consistently written to the point. It’s certainly not for nothing that the sounds are often reminiscent of his award-winning motifs from “La La Land”.
Janet (Claire Foy) is worried about her husband.
The supporting roles include names like Corey Stoll (“Ant Man”)Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”) and Christopher Abbott (“piercing”) decisive acting accents. They all form an ensemble that primarily “only” complements the main couple, but in crucial moments makes it clear that “First Man” is not about space travel itself, but rather the human drama that takes place in this context is the focus. Time and time again, people have to lose their lives on the way to the Apollo 13 mission, which on the one hand underlines the danger of the undertaking (no one who has seen this film will then go into a space capsule with the technical level of the early 1960s want to put!), but on the other hand also emphasized Armstrong’s unwavering commitment. Here Gosling’s game, for which he is often criticized for its supposed monotony, plays into the hands of the characterization of the aloof astronaut. Even though the biography on which the film is based delves deep into the man’s brain and attempts to reveal trains of thought that were previously hidden from the sensation-hungry audience who only perceived the Apollo mission as a technical milestone, Armstrong remains the same even after that The film is largely a psychological mystery that probably only his wife was able to decipher. Nothing could capture this fact better than the perfect final scene – Damien Chazelle also brings his third film to a brilliant, meaningful conclusion at the ideal moment, without having to resort to the bombast of the previous two hours. The heart of his film is once again in the details.
Conclusion: With “First Man” Damien Chazelle makes the next entry in cinema history. His Neil Armstrong biopic is not a story about an American hero, but a portrait of a sensitive man who helped human history achieve one of its greatest triumphs.
First Man can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from November 8th.