it shows numbers and facts..
Chazelle’s biopic walk on Neil Armstrong is for every man himself, losing itself in its spatial bubble, it is free from and as Foy once quotes, “..out of this world..” This sci-fi venture stands alone on depicting the actual vulnerability that one feels in such circumstances. Chazelle wanted to capture that exogenous experience on screen, and he does with such bravura and honesty that for the most part of it, it works like a horror. This horrifying feeling is something that Cuaron captured in “Gravity” few years back, but in here Chazelle’s job is comparatively harder since the plot track doesn’t demand it. And hence, he literally directs his guns to the mechanics of it, where nuts and bolts squeaking and weak metals that won’t be able to save them from nature’s strength, easily gives you the chills.
It also portrays how mankind is and has always been ahead of its time where the theory outweighs the potential of the practicality. Through smaller technology, less accurate numbers, communication gap, narrow minded ideologies surrounding the society and the uncertainty of any piece of the knowledge, Chazelle keeps reminding you how painful was it to take such bold decisions with clock ticking behind them like a time bomb. He glorifies this entire journey through these moments and not its final steps.
Singer’s adaptation of the novel and Chazelle’s execution of that adaptive and layered narration has certainly come with expectations, which is clearly surpassed in here. Ticking for more than two hours, the storytelling is thoroughly busy and competent with entire tale told with Gosling’s perspective; it was a smart move to keep a pov shot in order to give the audience the experience of the thrills and horror by putting them in his shoes or even suit.
The background score is mellow and beautiful and the sound effects are sharp and jaggerdly on mark from the spark that ignites a fire to a regulator being operated. Gosling has never been this good. He is just good. Within first few minutes, he melts you down and not with the pathos circumstances that he goes through, but the caring and responsible nature he has. He looks at his kids and there is a sense of awe in the air for his commitment and humbleness. Foy on the other hand, oozes power through her ashes, she mourns by getting back what’s rightfully hers. She is a match to Gosling’s reserved performance.
Despite of all the polished finesse, the ruggedness is what stays with you and Chazelle encourages it, he repetitively shows the failures by obviously following the track but also reminiscing about the lost. And since he is aware of keeping these things on tightropes, the message never grows manipulative, it shows numbers and facts. Its structure is unlike any of the other biographies, it has only one act, that it tries to build up through its cunning conversations and layered dialogues. As much as Chazelle’s accuracy and passion is plausible, First Man is Gosling’s tale that he tells through his eyes under a space suit and inside that suit lies the reason why cinema exists.