|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||First Man|
|Production country:||USA 2018|
|Running time:||Approx. 141 min|
After a family tragedy, pilot Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) throws himself fully into his work. Supported by his wife Janet (Claire Foy), he applies to join an astronaut program and, against all odds, is accepted. Thus begin the lengthy preparations for a mission with which Armstrong will go down in history. A mission, however, that will also bring numerous conflicts, dangers and hardships.
Following the acclaimed surprise hit La-La Land, director Damien Chazelle and lead actor Ryan Gosling have teamed up once again to retrace the story surrounding the first moon landing in Setting Out for the Moon. However, it's not just NASA's space program that takes center stage in this drama, but Neil Armstrong as well. Chazelle tries to trace as factually and authentically as possible the impact that the work, the great challenges and dramatic setbacks had on Armstrong and his family. The starting point here is highly emotional, as the couple is confronted in the very first minutes with a tragedy that is every parent's worst nightmare ever.
In the space program the couple sees the chance for a new beginning, but especially Janet becomes more and more aware that she might lose her husband. This offers not only a lot of dramaturgical conflict potential, but also the possibility to shower the audience with big emotions. But that's exactly what Chazelle largely refrains from doing. This has many advantages, but also some disadvantages. The big advantage is that his film is almost entirely devoid of the usual pathos and never feels too overbearing. The downside is that, despite strong actors and mesmerizing imagery, it feels a bit undercooked and overly matter-of-fact. At its worst, this can make some moments feel almost boring, which is a real shame given the high quality of the production.
In the final half hour, however, Chazelle pulls out all the stops. Although the outcome of the mission is known, there is nerve-wracking tension here, which is only resolved when Armstrong sets foot on the moon and says his legendary line: one small step for a man, but one giant leap for mankind. What follows is a moment that should actually move the audience to tears, but the emotionally very restrained staging suppresses this too much. In itself, it would have been the perfect moment to end the film, but Chazelle adds one more scene that stays absolutely true to his style and is therefore very consistent in its sobriety.
Breakup to the Moon is a good, in places even excellent film, which can inspire mainly through the actors and the camera work. But in his effort to avoid kitsch and pathos, Damien Chazelle unfortunately overshoots the mark and therefore only partially manages to really carry his audience along. The film is definitely worth seeing, but only with minor limitations
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp