Run time: 141 mins
Ryan Gosling soars in Oscar-winning director Damian Chazelle’s subtle, poetic, nerve-racking retelling of the most dangerous, audacious mission in human history (in a Morris Minor of swiss-army-knife technology).
While still holding the grief of losing their young daughter, test pilot Neil Armstrong and wife Janet prepare for the upcoming Gemini space project’s rigorous training programme. Submersing himself deeper into it, Armstrong channels his ability to close off the lingering pain of loss to serve his unnerving capacity to focus. As Gemini moves into the legendary Apollo missions, Armstrong’s headstrong approach singles him out as the perfect candidate to lead NASA, America and mankind into an uncertain future.
Perfectly cast, Gosling and Foy carry the emotional weight of the film as a loving couple whose family tragedy has driven a wedge between them. He buries himself, finding refuge in his work, but she has no outlet for her growing anxiety in his increasing isolation. Their feelings both individually and as parents are beautifully expressed through outstanding, understated performances.
Chazelle, whose work on Whiplash and La La Land gave no indication of his ambition to make a space-race drama, has succeeded in thinking this big. It’s a thunderous, unmissable piece of filmmaking. (Research Chris Coetsee) Fantastic. Come.