Fifth about The Seventh

First Man (2018)

First Man: superbly crafted, Damien Chazelle’s biopic is quiet and methodical like the man it portrays, attentive to detail like the mission that made him famous. That’s not to say it’s unemotional: the climax, a special moment in the history of mankind, is breathtaking, because the film shows the whole weight of the trajectory to get there. The sound design is excellent, going from the small creaks to the booming rumble of the engines to absolute silence. It’s greatly complemented by the marvelous musical score of Justin Hurwitz; diverse, very expressive, it enhances the awe, magic and terror of each moment. Cinematographer Linus Sandgren keeps the camera near the action, characters and details of the environment; the camera shakes a lot, sometimes justifiably so. Editing, by Tom Cross, is solid, mixing lightning quick cuts with more observant shots, and it keeps the film moving at a satisfying pace. The special effects are effective. The minimalist acting style of Ryan Gosling is a good fit for the character, defined both for his intelligence and stoicism; so much of his emotions are transmitted not from his eyes or expressions, but through bits of business. Claire Foy is not so much a character as a bouncing board for Gosling’s character, but she is nevertheless very good, sharing the same basic traits and projecting quite a bit of inner strength. All the performances are on the quiet side of the spectrum, but they are all effective: Kyle Chandler, Jason Clarke and Ciarán Hinds, among others, are all fine presences.


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