First Man

Director: Damien Chazelle
Year Released: 2018
Rating: 2.0

Biopic of American astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) as he goes through crashes (but makes it out alive), survives the Gemini mission, hears about colleagues perishing in the Apollo 1 disaster and eventually becomes the first person to walk on the Moon. It's evident that Chazelle has seen all the other space-related movies since so much of this brings back memories of those - Apollo 13, Space Cowboys, The Right Stuff, 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. - except he doesn't add much to make it exhilarating (or all that unique): it stirs to life when his camera is pressed against Gosling's face and the cockpits are rattling around, but otherwise it feels forced when it tries to add emotion, leaning heavily on Claire Foy's nervous wife and the memory of Armstrong's deceased daughter. I understand the need to downplay the rah-rah self-congratulation - pointedly, Chazelle omits the famous planting-the-flag moment - and focus on Armstrong's quiet strength, but it comes off as a little bit flat.