- Fiona Prior
Director: Damien Chazelle
I’m sure we have all thought about the life and motivation of Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon.
Obviously he was very brave but also, knowing he was a married man with children, I have often wondered how he could agree to a journey which could so easily have resulted in his children being left fatherless and his wife a widow? It was not as if he believed he was being sent on a mission to save the world from malevolent forces or to bring home a cure for cancer within a sample of moon dust?
Sure, the coverage of America’s space race with Russia, the Cold War politics of the time, an insight into Sixties technology, etc., are of interest. Likewise, notable are a strong cast led by Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife Jan, not to mention amazing attention to historical detail covering the lead up to a truly compelling cultural moment.
Chazelle's subtlety in narrative development is pretty impressive too, taking us through a claustrophobic training regime using incredibly primitive – by our standards – technology, to the actual take off of Apollo 11 into vast and seemingly limitless space. It really brought home how ill-prepared and vulnerable those men were.
However, it is the truly fascinating trip into the head of our first man on the moon that made this film a knock-out for me.
An enigmatic journey!