First Man – a 60 million dollar art film

If you’ve read other reviews prior to this one, you’re already familiar with the characteristics of this movie. EXTREME close up of faces, quick cuts of selective focusing, and tons of shaky.., make that REALLY shaky footage. Damien Chazelle is creating an expensive art film with FIRST MAN by re-telling the isolate period (1961-1969) in the life and times of Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling). I am a big fan of Mr. Chazelle’s last two movie, especially the masterpiece Lala Land. However, I could not say I love this one. I get that he’s trying to put the audience inside the dizzying, claustrophobic quarters these test pilots and astronauts experienced in their trials and actual flights. But by God, I felt seriously nauseated in a couple of scenes containing extreme shaky footage. It did not help that I watched it on IMAX with maximum picture size and loud, booming sound. I have to say 75% of the movie were shot in extreme close up where you see every pores and freckles on the actors/actresses’ faces and arms. Unfortunately, Neil Armstrong is a bit of a dull character in real life, which made him a somewhat boring character to focus on in the movie. This movie was pretty slow and a bit boring in between the exhilarating scenes took place at the NASA space center. I found myself dozed off a couple of times in the middle of the movie and only got woken up by loud booming sounds of rocket propellers. Comparing to  Apollo 13 and Interstellar, this movie lack a sense of triumph, discovery, or success; the crescendo and ebb of emotional elements that make a movie thrilling to watch. On a side note, this movie is executive produced by Steven Spielberg.

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