IThe underrated 1980 mystery thriller by William Peter Blatty. The ninth configuration, a lunar astronaut on land played by Scott Wilson (who sadly died last week) offers a heartbreaking soliloquy that perfectly encapsulates the existential crisis at the center of much of space cinema. "See the stars, so cold, so far away and so lonely," he says, querulous. "What if I got there, I got to the moon and I could not go back … I'm afraid of dying alone, away from home, and if there's no God, then that's really, Really single."
That sense of cosmic isolation reverberates through a series of space films, by Andrei Tarkovsky Solaris by Douglas Trumbull Silent operation (nicknamed "the loneliest adventure of all") and, more recently, the work of Alfonso Cuarón. Gravity. Now it resurges in a powerful way in First manThe grim story of Damien Chazelle in the real life of the lunar landing of 1969, which turns a spectacular space adventure into a low-key study of grief.
Adapted from James R Hansen's book by Highlight the screenwriter Josh Singer, First manThe narrative of the sixties is based essentially on the 1983 adaptation of Philip Kaufman by Tom Wolfe. The right thing. In fact, there is at least one shot that seems to quote deliberately from Kaufman's extensive masterpiece. But Lash Director Chazelle's looks focus on something more explicitly allegorical, since the insular Neil Armstrong is trapped between the interior space and the exterior.
From Chazelle The earth The star Ryan Gosling is the titular explorer who we met for the first time almost jumping an experimental plane into space. His superiors believe that he is a danger to himself, and the film suggests a connection between his desire to slip the Earth's bonds and his loss for the loss of his daughter Karen. When NASA publishes the call to the astronauts in formation, its successful application seems to offer a new beginning. However, it is Karen's memory that torments Armstrong during training and in his Apollo 11 mission, a vision of his hair running down his fingers at key moments of crisis.
Significantly, Gosling's seemingly emotionless anti-hero seems to be lost in space even when on Earth. Again and again, the filmmaker Linus Sandgren frames it only in the middle of the dark spaces of Armstrong's house: the camera looks through doors, corridors and hatches that paint a black cover around his softly lit figure. Brilliantly, Sandgren uses a 16mm handheld for personal scenes and 35mm for the industrial Nasa sequences, switching to clear 65mm Imax clarity for the expansive silence of the lunar landscapes where Armstrong can finally face his terrible loss. While the animator of the "space force" Donald Trump could have declared (at first glance) that the absence of a US flag plantation scene in First man It is "something terrible", any person with a pulse will recognize that there is more at stake here than an empty gesture of false patriotism. In space, Donald, no one can hear you whine.
Chazelle describes this tale as existing "between the moon and the kitchen sink", and, like Ron Howard Apollo 13He juxtaposes convincingly evoked sequences from NASA with backyard scenes of beers and barbecues in which the moon shines through the trees. Claire Foy's Janet Armstrong proves adept at keeping the connection between these two worlds open, even when she cuts off the live broadcast of her husband's spaceship. While Gosling plays everything close to his chest, it is Foy who invites us to the drama that unfolds with his wonderfully empathetic performance.
Like the Armstrongs under stress marriage, spacecraft are in constant danger of falling apart, portrayed accurately as an alarming collection of screws and rivets that Janet dismisses as "balsawood" children's toys. It is not surprising that someone asks for a Swiss army knife to make some last minute adjustments. Instead of reveling in the majesty of space travel, First man he puts his audience in a can while shaking and shaking his claustrophobic path to heaven. I like it The right thing, there is no layer of sugar that covers the specter of death that torments even training missions. The horrors of the burning catastrophe weigh on the process, with the surprising loss of friends and colleagues amplified through a well-judged dramatic underestimation.
Taking the lead on Lunar Rhapsody (a tune that Armstrong loved), Justin Hurwitz's melancholic score incorporates the mysterious and sad lament of a theremin, which was once a staple of the science fiction genre and Bernard's most famous. Herrmann The day the Earth stopped. Here, add another note of longing and loss to a movie that I found powerfully moving and silent.