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First Man

Opening Date
18 Oct 2018
PG13 Some Coarse Language
141 mins
English with Chinese subtitles
Damien Chazelle
Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy
On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.
By Say Peng  16 Oct 2018
'First Man' is astounding, revelatory, breath-taking, and viscerally real. You won't know just how difficult it is to land on the moon until you watch this film.
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Based on the biography “First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong”, ‘First Man’ is a biopic drama of Armstrong’s journey to becoming the first man to land on the moon. The movie is Damien Chazalle’s follow-up to his romantic musical fairytale ‘La La Land’ (2016), a movie whose tone is diametrically opposite to ‘First Man’.

Tonally, ‘First Man’ is also diametrically different from many space movies like ‘Gravity’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which have been more metaphysical and philosophical. ‘First Man’ is so palpably gritty, dirty and detailedly realistic that, despite the many space movies that have been done before, it is the first to depict just how technically difficult, physically demanding, and life-threatening risky it is to pilot a spacecraft from Earth to the Moon, land on the Moon, and return back to Earth. Chazelle has pared back the mythos and legend associated with Armstrong and his achievement to reveal the raw reality of what “landing on the moon” truly entails. The results are astounding, revelatory and breath-taking.

Stepping into his shoes to play Armstrong is Ryan Gosling. While Gosling with his slim facial features looks nothing like the more square-jawed Armstrong, with his trademark deadpan restraint, Gosling manages to successfully embody Armstrong’s all-American quality together with his humility and forthrightness.

Not to be outmatched is The Crown’s Claire Foy, who plays Armstrong’s steely wife Janet. As it depicts the difficult technical task, the movie also depicts the emotional toll that such a decision has on Armstrong’s family, in particular, Janet. Three of Armstrong colleagues have perished in a launch simulation test gone wrong, and Neil himself would have nearly died had he not ejected himself in the nick of time from the lunar landing vehicle. All this hangs heavily and anxiously upon Janet as the date of launch approaches. Recognising monumental importance of her husband’s endeavour, she has to grapple with the hard-to-swallow fact that she may end up a widow and her children will grow up without a father.

No doubt planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Armstrong’s 1968 moon landing, ‘First Man’ is a timely and deserving tribute to not just Armstrong, but the unsung heroes supporting Armstrong from behind the scenes. And thanks to this movie, the idea of “landing on the moon” is no longer something abstract that we read in history books. It’s been made viscerally real.
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