First Man review round-up: Ryan Gosling gives 'thoughtfully internalised performance' in 'thrilling space saga'

FP Staff

August 30, 2018 15:22:10 IST

Oscar-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle's new film, First Man, opened to glowing reviews at Venice Film Festival.

The film tells the story of how Neil Armstrong overcame tragedy after tragedy to become the first man to walk on the moon. The mundanity of real life in First Man contrasts with the enormity of the mission, as seen in the trailer.

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstron in First Man. Image via Universal

Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstron in First Man. Image via Universal

(Also read — Venice Film Festival 2018 Day 1 roundup: First Man premiers; lack of representation riles women)

Co-produced by Steven Spielberg, First Man is based on a 2005 biography by historian James Hansen. The film is one of 21 movies in competition for the Golden Lion which will be awarded on 8 September.

Here's what the critics have said about the film:

The Guardian: It is a movie packed with wonderful vehemence and rapture: it has a yearning to do justice to this existential adventure and to the head-spinning experience of looking back on Earth from another planet...Chazelle tells Armstrong’s story with certainty and verve.

The Hollywood Reporter: It’s a credit to the filmmakers and to lead actor Ryan Gosling’s thoughtfully internalized performance as Neil Armstrong that this sober, contemplative picture has emotional involvement, visceral tension, and yes, even suspense, in addition to stunning technical craft.

IndieWire: First Man is an anti-thriller of rare intensity, with lived-in performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy heightening the sky-high drama at every turn. It’s not a comprehensive look at the Apollo 11 mission, but revisits that famous story from a more intimate angle, even as it delivers a satisfying ride.

Variety: After seeing First Man, it’s doubtful you’ll think about space flight, or Armstrong’s historic walk, in quite the same way. You’ll know more deeply how it happened, what it meant and what it was, and why its mystery — more than ever — still lingers.

The Wrap: This haunting, thrilling space saga reminds us that the path to the moon was littered with chaos and catastrophe

Screen Daily: It takes elegant flight but stalls across its extended closing sequences; a project which, in its probing of Armstrong’s emotional mechanisms, neglects the development of other characters who might have anchored it more securely.

Watch First Man trailer here

Updated Date: Aug 30, 2018 15:22 PM