“First Man” Turns an Extraordinary Tale into a Muddled Film

TVOvermind | 10/12/2018 | Mitchell Stein
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First Man is with absolute certainty, a unique and ambitious feat in cinema, but not particularly for all the right reasons. Damien Chazelle’s new feature film, which tells the incredible true story of the Apollo 11 mission that sent Neil Armstrong to the moon, takes an incredible story and makes it feel grounded and semi-personal. However, that desire to pull these personal elements don’t elevate the film, they make it awfully dull and painfully boring to endure, where the pieces of the drama are so far greater than what is achieved on-screen. First Man is a slightly mellow embark into telling a story that should be anything but dull, making it just another small step in cinema.

It would be unfair to say that First Man fails in its regard to tell a grounded, personal story about Neil Armstrong, because in fact, there are elements in which the film succeeds at that quite spectacularly, including a personal emotional journey that concludes for Armstrong on the moon itself. However, scenes of Armstrong and his personal life, from his wife to his children, are slowed down, dull and full of plenty of awkward pauses that don’t pull the story along in any way, and just cause for agonizing dullness. The story behind it is nothing boring, but through hollow dialogue and often pointless exchanges, it doesn’t help advance the story or even allow any of the audience to care for its core characters in the way that it truly should.

Flaw - Film - Scenes - Excitement - Action

The biggest flaw of the film, however, is in the scenes that are intended to cause excitement and action throughout the film, and most of that takes place, as expected, in space. But in any sequence...
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