After "La La Land", Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling join forces again, adapting James R. Hansen's book "First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong."
"The First Man on the Moon" is a mission film that chronicles the events inside NASA and the personal life of Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) during the Apollo 11 operation.
Contrasting the intimacy and uniqueness of the family with the infinity of space, it is a drama about a simple man, where sacrifice and resilience are endured with an ironic humor and the seriousness of knowing how to heal the wounds side by side with the wife (Claire Foy).
But it is also a thriller where Chazelle tried to be as authentic as possible, presenting the madness, the limit of error and overcoming the dangerous barriers that at the time the technology made available.
The film thus has an analogical, visceral aspect that makes us witness an incredible feat, side by side with our stoic hero: inside the cockpit and then in the vastness of space, marking the first footprint on the moon.
In the performance, backed by names like Jason Clarke or Corey Stoll, Claire Foy and Ryan Gosling are the Armstrong, the family that took the man to the moon.
Claire Foy is Janet and carries the weight of the mission. She knows that Neil can die at any loose bolt, and that the support of the house and family are in his hands.
Ryan Gosling is calm, minimalist, cerebral and a craftsman of emotions, interpreting a man prepared to take everything to the limit, to the breaking point … and then to rejoin the pieces and build again.
Chazelle holds the audience inside the cockpit, looking for a feeling of wonder and admiration, making us live the impact of the material closely, the nerves to the skin, the claustrophobia with the infinite space next to it.
For that, the wit of the photography team and the "design" of production is incredible. 3D miniatures and various formats were used to reveal a more documentary aesthetic than a modern "biopic".
With 16mm film, director of photography Linus Sandgren explores the intimacy of the family, advances to 35mm giving us the NASA industrialist and expands to 65mm, with the immensity of the moon, in a magical moment to see in the cinema, in IMAX .
There he also uses the Hasselblad cameras, the ones Aldrin and Armstrong used to take the iconic photographs, playing with the charm of our memory.
Thus, the detail and the intimate present at the heart of Armstrong is not lost and its representation of humanity echoes from that first footprint, the universe outside.
"The First Man on the Moon" is the celebration of mankind's ingenuity and a cinematographic triumph.
"Thelma": in cinemas on October 18th.
Review: Daniel Antero
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