First Man

review by Bobby Blakey

I love films focusing on true events and even more so the ones that are such big moments in history. They are often stories that are so big they are either hard to believe or just amazing to see unfold. The latest, First Man actually has a lot of controversy around the history involving the moon landing, but thankfully not the film itself. The film features a great cast including Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbot, and Ciarán Hinds with La La Land and Whiplash director Damien Chazelle and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, but does it successful step in to bring this story to life or will it not be a first step worth remembering?

First Man follows the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history. The trailers never fully sucked me in on this one, but being a fan of the cast and history still had me eager to check it out. While I enjoyed the film I have to say it is pretty slow and uneventful which baffles me based on the subject matter.

The cast all do a great job, but their personalities all kind of fall flat as does the overall execution of the story. I don’t think this is necessarily because it’s a bad film but because the realism that real life is not always as exciting as we imagine it. The use of some grainy film to fit with the time period, actual audio recordings and great visuals really bring you into the mission side of it. There is one particularly excellent sequence featuring the ship in an out of control spiral that is brilliantly shot and intense to watch. These kinds of moments are the highlight of the film, but bogged down by the overall slowness of it all.

I usually like a character driven slow build film but for some reason this one just

didn’t connect much with me. I didn’t hate it by any means and recognize it is a really good movie, but failed to keep me fully interested from beginning to end. This is one of those that will no doubt work differently for everyone so give it a try and decide for yourself.

In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including deleted scenes, commentary and numerous featurettes taking you behind bring this story to the big screen. Prepare for the biggest step in history with First Man available now on digital and then on 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD on January 22nd from Universal Home Entertainment.

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