FIRST MAN (12A) Five stars
Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle takes one giant leap for immersive, nail-biting film-making in a thrilling dramatisation of the space race between America and the Soviet Union.
Based on James R Hansen’s official biography of Neil Armstrong, First Man shoots for the moon and touches down beautifully by placing us alongside astronauts in their claustrophobic modules or next to nervous Nasa staff as they propel mankind into the great unknown.
Hand-held camerawork, unobtrusive special effects and dazzling sound design leave us stranded thousands of miles above terra firma in a similar fashion to Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, at the mercy of new-fangled technology and Lady Luck. The tension is almost unbearable.
Chazelle has us biting our nails to the quick with bold visual flourishes and unshowy, powerhouse performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy as the husband and wife at the epicentre of the 1969 lunar landing.