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Racking up three best picture Oscar nominations in a row is a tall order for legends, let alone 33-year-old wunderkinds, but Damien Chazelle is poised to get there with “First Man.”
Technically, the film is a marvel, though it doesn’t look like a ton of money was thrown at it either. Much of the photography in the various launch and flight sequences is quite claustrophobic, never cutting outside the modules to give the viewer context or a breather. Chazelle saves that for his finale. All of that is in keeping with a clenched protagonist who wears absolutely nothing on his sleeve.
Neil - Armstrong - Sons - Director - Damien
Neil Armstrong's Sons, Director Damien Chazelle Defend Absence of Flag-Planting Scene in 'First Man'
But the sound in these sequences is quite arresting. A filmmaker friend who saw an early cut some months back called it “‘Dunkirk’ in space,” and that kind of tracks. You’re right there with the astronauts. A 4DX presentation of the film would be kind of amazing, but you’d need a barf bag.
Sound - Oscar-winning - Composer - Justin - Hurwitz
Speaking of sound, Oscar-winning composer Justin Hurwitz’s score is half the emotional experience. It moves from propulsive and thrilling to elegiac and melancholic with ease. He can expect more recognition from his peers in a few months’ time.
Ryan Gosling’s performance as Armstrong is exactly what the roles calls for, a near-cipher, a stoic presence with a deep well of grief below the surface. As well, there is a clear drive to the man, an obvious passion for his work and for the missions that would ultimately propel the nation,...
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