From Owen Gleiberman’s Variety review of Damian Chazelle‘s First Man: “The fact that space travel, viewed from the inside, could look and feel so much more abrasive and hazardous than we might ever have thought is part of the raw dramatic power of First Man. The movie captures that death was always part of it. The steep risk factor, the sheer number of pilots and astronauts who lost their lives, the scary macabre thrust of the voyages — it was all a dream poised on the edge of an abyss.
“First Man bears the same relation to the space dramas that have come before it that Saving Private Ryan did to previous war films. The movie redefines what space travel is — the way it lives inside our imagination — by capturing, for the first time, what the stakes really were.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney says that “this sober, contemplative picture has emotional involvement, visceral tension, and yes, even suspense, in addition to stunning technical craft.
“The extent to which mainstream audiences will respond to the lengthy film’s unfaltering restraint remains to be seen” — in other words, portions of the popcorn crowd may feel unfulfilled in terms of standard jingoistic rah-rah vibes. “But this is a strikingly intelligent treatment of a defining moment for America that broadens the tonal range of Chazelle, clearly a versatile talent, after Whiplash and La La Land.”
Nobody has a history of generating shock waves across the men’s fashion universe like Ryan Gosling. A brown suit with almost ’70s-style wide lapels? Along with a complex-pattern print shirt that may have been bought from a roadside seller in Tijuana?
Beware of any Alex Billington rave of any FX-rich, eyeball-filling movie — he’s Mr. Easy in this regard.