It is no simple feat writing historically accurate, yet entertaining non-fiction. One must be faithful to the source material while being engaging to the audience. From the beginning, it must appeal to a variety of people, all with different levels of knowledge on the subject, and it must appease them by the end. Hopefully, going above and beyond their expectations. This is what it takes to be successful.
First Man did just that. A biopic of Neil Alden Armstrong, astronaut and first man on the moon, it told the story of the sacrifices he, and the nation, had to make. Particularly in relation to his familial responsibilities as husband and father. The film explores the family’s shifting dynamic as the now-famous Space Race between the USSR and the US progresses – from project Gemini to the Apollo 11 landing, and everything in between.
The film was a feast for the eyes and ears. The black abyss of space juxtaposed by shots of the blinding sun made for a visually captivating experience that can be offered by so few movies. But even that seems lackluster when compared to the exceptional auditory work used throughout the film. Or perhaps, more accurately, the absence of it. In what can only be described as a pleasantly jarring sensation, the film faithfully represents how sound is modified by space.
First Man balances historical accuracy with compelling drama. The stellar cast led by Ryan Gosling gave exceptional performances that bring new life to what some have only read about in the history books. Academy Award winning director Damien Chazelle cleverly incorporated space, science and humanity in this theatrical retelling of what is perhaps mankind’s most perilous journey to date.
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