First Man (2018)

Rating: 9/10

Ryan Gosling plays Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. It’s a biopic, but done very stylistically and different from other films in the True-Space genre. Something I appreciate, I was coming into this movie expecting another Apollo 13/Hidden Figures type of film and got something entirely different. With those movies you have serious films but they’re lighthearted in tone and focus specifically on just a few events. Here, you have a very dreamlike film that focuses primarily on Neil Armstrong from the first moment of him going into the upper atmosphere flying experimental aircraft for the US Air Force, up until he walks on the moon. It’s beautiful and artistic and different from any other biopic I think I’ve ever seen.

That is quite an achievement. In recent years, there’s been very few biopics I’ve seen that didn’t immediately fall into a familiar formula. Usually, they start at some event near the end of their life, then flashback to their childhood and proceed through their entire life. This movie actually pretends to do this, acting as if he’s doing something for Houston only for it to turn out to be something flown for the Air Force a little bit later, and the “flashback” was really a flash forward to a time after Armstrong left the Air Force to care for his sick daughter. Though some people might not like such a move, I appreciated it.

Not much to complain about. Some of the scenes felt a bit disjointed at first. But I later realized this was just to match the films overall dreamlike quality. So, my only real complaint is that the story, being one that we’re all familiar with and probably learned about in school, it doesn’t have any real stakes. But, this movie is about Armstrong’s journey first and foremost, and the film, much like the man himself, is unlike any other.

SCORING:

+10: Just a great, artistic film

-1: Story has no stakes

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