First Man, director Damien Chazelle's followup to 2016's La La Land, which opens the just -started Venice Film Festival, has its first review and its spectacular — or, maybe, moontacular.
Ryan Gosling plays astronaut Neil Armstrong, who became the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. He was an Ohio native who died in Cincinnati in 2012 and had taught at University of Cincinnati's Department of Aerospace Engineering after resigning from NASA in 1971.
The Variety review, by Owen Gleiberman, says the film is "a drama so revelatory in its realism that it shoots the moon." He also says, of Gosling's portrayal, that he "gives a tricky, compelling performance that grows on you. He plays Armstrong as a brainy go-getter who has learned to hold most of what he feels inside (he wrote musicals in college, and is now ashamed of it), but he lets out just enough of it, especially when someone crosses him, to exude a quiet command."
And of the moon-walking sequence, he says the film "plays it neutral and deadpan, showing us the moon through the capsule window as a death zone of luminous rubble, then reveling in the texture of the sand, and in the spooky remoteness of Armstrong looking down at his boot as he takes that first step. It’s a staggering victory with a hidden hint of the surreal, maybe even the insane. It makes Neil Armstrong a hero, but he needs to get back to what’s real."
You can read the full review here.
The movie is scheduled to open in Cincinnati on Oct. 12. Meanwhile, you can see Armstrong up closed in a mural at Sixth and Walnut Sts. in Downtown Cincinnati. It was done In 2016 for ArtWorksby Brazilian artist Kobra.