First Man ★★★★½

Damien... Keep making movies and I’ll keep buying tickets.

I enjoyed this movie for the same reasons why my wife didn’t enjoy it as much, and I completely understand both sides. This movie - while it does have emotional elements, is fairly hollow at its core. It spends more time on what happened instead of lingering too much on the who and why. If it wasn’t such an incredibly well directed movie, this would bother me a bit more. 

I love the fact that Damien took the time and effort to flesh out all of the small details and really put you in the place of those astronauts. It felt claustrophobic, visceral, and completely disorienting. He also really took a unique perspective on it that I think differentiates it from most other movies, in that for most of the last portion of the movie it was shot from the point of view of the astronauts in the Apollo. No dramatic cuts to back home, no cuts to mission control celebrating, just them landing on the moon. The tense build up, dramatic music, and then silence. I loved every second of it. 

The Oscar for best sound mixing and editing should go right here. Incredible sound design, through and through. The cinematography was breathtaking as well (both beautiful and panicky at the same time). So much care and attention to detail went into making this film feel authentic. Shots lingering on the nuts and bolts of the inside of the cockpit really showed how man-made it all felt, if that makes any sense- it created an atmosphere so very tangible that you could really place yourself in that vessel and really feel what they felt. 

In summary, see this movie on the largest screen you can- IMAX if you have it available. The last 20-30 minutes were stunning in full screen IMAX. 

Damien Chazelle really has quite the streak going, and I’m looking forward to everything he puts out. Love this film.

Bradley liked this review