Rent First Man (2018)

3.4 of 5 from 1335 ratings
2h 15min
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Synopsis:
Director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for 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, intimate account told from Armstrong's perspective and based on the book by James R. Hansen, the film explores the triumphs and the cost on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues, and the nation itself for one of the most dangerous missions in history.
Actors:
, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Luke Winters, Connor Blodgett, Lucy Stafford
Directors:
Producers:
Marty Bowen, Damien Chazelle, Isaac Klausner
Writers:
Josh Singer, James R. Hansen
Others:
Ian Hunter, Claire Foy, Paul Lambert, Tom Cross, Jon Taylor, Nathan Crowley, Frank A. Montaño, Josh Singer, Linus Sandgren, Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Ai-Ling Lee, Mary H. Ellis, Tristan Myles, J.D. Schwalm, Kathy Lucas
Studio:
Universal Pictures
Genres:
Top 100 Films, Drama
Awards:

2019 Oscar Best Visual Effects

BBFC:
Release Date:
18/02/2019
Run Time:
135 minutes
Languages:
Anglicized English Audio Description, English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Giant Leap in One Small Step
  • Recreating the Moon Landing
  • Shooting at NASA
  • Astronaut Training
  • Feature Commentary and More!
BBFC:
Release Date:
18/02/2019
Run Time:
141 minutes
Languages:
Anglicized English Audio Description, English
Subtitles:
English
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Giant Leap in One Small Step
  • Recreating the Moon Landing
  • Shooting at NASA
  • Astronaut Training
  • Feature Commentary and More!
  • And More
BBFC:
Release Date:
18/02/2019
Run Time:
141 minutes
Languages:
English
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B
Bonus:
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Giant Leap in One Small Step
  • Recreating the Moon Landing
  • Shooting at NASA
  • Astronaut Training
  • Feature Commentary
  • And More!

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Reviews (26) of First Man

The real perils - First Man review by Gwydion

Spoiler Alert
17/03/2019

I very much liked this film.

Unlike 'The Right Stuff' and even 'Apollo 13', this got across the extreme dangers of space flight. That even when everything seems fine, there is a lot to worry about. That included the clanking, vibration and alarming noises for take-off.

People wanted Armstrong to be more colourful. But as far as I know, he wasn't. Good to have a movie that respected the facts.

4 out of 6 members found this review helpful.

One of the best films of 2018 - First Man review by MW

Spoiler Alert
18/03/2019

I enjoyed this more than I expected to. I liked Damien Chazelle's first film Whiplash but this is on a whole other level of filmmaking. Ryan Gosling is perfectly suited to the role of Neil Armstrong and gives what could be a career best performance. Claire Foy is also excellent. The thing I loved about the film was that it managed to be both epic and intimate, I believed and cared about the characters and their personal setbacks but was also utterly absorbed with the progress made leading up to and during NASA's trip to the moon. The space missions show what a great director Chazelle is, they could have been boring but I was captivated by them. Another review on here mentioned Apollo 13 and how this was not as good, anyone who knows Ron Howard's films knows his films are very crowd-pleasing. This film has more depth and for me a much better film and in fact in my top films of 2018.

4 out of 7 members found this review helpful.

Disappointed - First Man review by JD

Spoiler Alert
27/02/2019

I had been really looking forward to watching this dvd, but I was very disappointed. It is not half as good as Apollo 13.

Was Neil Armstrong as morose as played by Ryan Gosling ? No leadership qualities were hinted at, and Claire Foy as his wife was as bad.

The movie only gets going when they take off for the Moon, and the landing is very exciting. But having spent so long to get that far, it is all over very quickly, the return journey or landing are not shown at all. Again no celebration back on board the aircraft carrier, just a glum looking Armstrong meeting his wife again, through glass as he is in quarantine.

3 out of 9 members found this review helpful.

First Man, eventually with a few problems just before it happened… - First Man review by DS

Spoiler Alert
04/06/2019

There are a lot of negative reviews of First Man, but you will not find one here.

Taking a story that nearly everyone in the world knows but in fact few really do and then drilling down through the bombast and jingoism that infests these type of stories to bring us into a very personal and small account of a huge event is a breath of fresh Hollywood air and dare I say a stroke of genius. Then strip away as much dramatic artifice as you can, play most character and scenes in an understated and realistic way as you possibly can, and you've got me from the first scenes.

The principal characters are Neil Armstrong and his wife Janet with both playing pivotal roles in the emotional drive of the film, Ryan Gosling is the driven and controlled Armstrong, I seem to recall there was some criticism of the way he played the role, but the truth of the matter, pilots are trained in that way, you can't have panicking, arm-waving histrionics in that profession, take note Ron Howard, and Claire Foy playing his wife Janet is the softer emotional core of the film. How the rest of us normal humans would feel. That's not to say Gosling's Armstrong is a robot and one early scene shows his deep emotions but also says to the audience, this is in private.

Keeping it personal we are surrounded by a supporting cast of characters that were in Armstrong's life at that time, we get to see snatches of their personalities, their lives and what shaped them but only a small amount. Basically, mirroring real life - you don't know the intricate details of a work friends’ life. The once again emphasises the personal world view we are getting.

Then in a further stroke of cinematic genius we get to see the Gemini 8 launch as if you were taking part in it, what you would see were you Armstrong. Like I said personal.

All the acting is top notch in the film with even the dramatic effect scenes certainly having the brakes put on. Gosling is restrained to the point somnambulance at times but that is the point, Armstrong was this way, certainly in his professional and public life and it would make sense that a great deal of emotional outlet has to come from his partner in all this his wife Janet played by the sublime Claire Foy. In truth, women are not served well in this film with Foy the only major female character throughout which is unfortunate but perhaps also a sign of the period in which the film was set and of course we are seeing this primarily through the eyes of the Armstrong family.

The look of the 1960s seems tight and correct, but I was seven when the film's story ended so I am probably not the best person to comment, but to me it looked good. Being a true story but a dramatic film there are liberties with the truth and certainly if you go digging you can find many bends, stretches, and obfuscation in my mind though the spirit of the Armstrongs, the spirit of the time, the feel of it, or to go back to The Castle as Dennis said 'The vibe of it'.

This is where First Man gets it right, the very vibe of the times. Spot on. The pace, the look, the emotion, fits the story and the actors correctly. Sure, if you looking for screaming, exploding helicopters, flaming rockets at a breakneck speed you are going to be disappointed and without trying to preach not all films have to be like this, some can flow languidly like a wide peaceful river that makes it way slowly to a raging, beautiful waterfall.

I'd say give it a go, adjust your expectations if you love action, sit back and marvel at the millions of people did way back in the sixties, rightly or wrongly, to send humanity into space.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

First Man review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

Damien Chazelle has at the very least proven he’s not a director held to jazz. First Man marks his first biopic and it’s certainly one that stands out for taking a contemplative aim at the journey of Neil Armstrong through the space program that led him to the moon. Is it a wholly accurate portrayal of Armstrong? Probably not but Chazelle succeeds greatly at trying to get us more into the cockpit than inside the full and dry history of the legendary astronaut.

Neil is played by Ryan Gosling as a reserved man, quiet and distant, trying to keep his work separate from his family life. He loses a very young child a tumor but doesn’t let him slow it down. Everyone thinks it would make him want to take some time off but he’s right back in the office after some fast and hard grieving, leaving his tears and memories at home. When he’s at the office as a pilot, nothing distracts him. Or at least he doesn’t let it show. I can’t say I blame him when it comes to piloting crafts into the atmosphere where one wrong move or tiny error and death is assured. It’s this determination that keeps him sharp, focused, and a prime candidate for the space race to the moon at NASA.

It’s not an easy life for his wife Janet (Claire Foy). She tries to stay with her man as her family is moved about the country for Neil’s work but it certainly takes its toll. Janet is not as strong as her husband when it comes to watching the man of the NASA program suffer deaths as the dangerous testing continues. There is only so much of Neil’s quiet nature she can take before she eventually explodes on him for how he treats every day as just another day at the office, including the eventual Apollo launch. Neil can play cheerfully with his kids but when it comes time to tell them that he’ll be heading off to the moon, he gives them the same talk he gives a press conference. He just doesn’t want to talk about it.

Aside from Gosling’s beautifully contained performance and Foy absolutely dominating in her role, Chazelle’s direction keeps the film an intense one of flights that could go wrong at any moment. I love how he keeps us saddled right next to Neil during these many tests and adventures above the planet, seeing and hearing everything he senses from within the cramped cockpits. Our vision limited and hearing plagued by gauges, radio static, and howling metal, it’s a shaky and terrifying experience, especially during the film’s most horrific scene of a test capsule gone wrong where the electronics catch fire and the astronauts are burned alive. The most frightening of scenes features Neil struggling to stabilize his craft during a docking procedure that sends him spinning faster and faster to the point of nearly passing out.

Chazelle still proves he has a way with the camera, making great use of the space and lighting, everywhere from the cramped lunar lander to the hallways of Neil’s home. And then there’s the eventual landing of the lunar module on the surface of the moon, kept tastefully devoid of sound and falling back on the memorable audio from that monumental event. Chazelle holds back on trying to amp up the scene, keeping it more contemplative, almost more than it probably was for Neil about coming to terms with death if there were such thoughts bouncing around in the furthest pockets of his mind.

First Man certainly isn’t Chazelle’s strongest picture. It develops many characters, including a cocky Buzz Aldrin played by Corey Stoll, but then doesn’t do much with them. Much like Neil, the film remains far more focused on the mission to the moon rather than Armstrong’s relationships, existing as distant echoes he tries to shut out. But for what the film is as an experience to perhaps peer inside Armstrong’s helmet and feel every quake of ascending to outer space, Chazelle delivers an engaging film if not as straight.

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