What is it?
On July 20, 1969, an estimated 530 million people watched Neil Armstrong become the first man to walk on the moon. That the Americans even made it there in the 1960’s was a feat within itself (and yes, some conspiracy theorists allege it never happened at all) but this movie is not about the space race with the USSR nor is it about the moon landing. It is the story of Neil Armstrong; the husband, the father, the friend, the man.
The movie opens in 1961, with Armstrong a test pilot for NASA, a job he has held for many years. Struggling to overcome a personal tragedy, he applies to be an astronaut, is accepted and thus his journey from civilian test pilot to historical figure begins.
But as with all great stories, his path was not straightforward nor was it without great personal and professional sacrifice.
Why should I watch it?
We all know who Neil Armstrong is and we all know what he did. But who was the man behind the legend? What is the real story?
The real story, and I am given to believe this movie is pretty accurate, is fascinating and scary in equal measure.
The personal sacrifices they make along the way are difficult to fathom. The dedication to a mission that took the lives of so many of their colleagues and friends, I cannot even begin to understand the drive that each and every person must have possessed to want to make it to the moon before the USSR.
And make no mistake… the United States was always behind the former Soviet Union every step of the way. Every step. It was not until the actual moon landing that the Americans could claim victory in this so called ‘space race’. Controversially, the movie does not shy away from this very significant fact.
Gosling, with his ability to just be still and present, is absolute perfection as the quiet, unassuming and no nonsense Armstrong. We are along for the ride, so to speak, in every scene. From the stomach churning training and test runs, right up to those harrowing few minutes as Armstrong struggles to gain control of the moon lander, you are on the edge of your seat.
It is an absolute tribute to the director and cinematographer that even though we all know what happened ….. we all know they landed safely on the moon and returned to Earth ….. we are so gripped by the tension on screen that for fleeting moments you doubt what you know and entertain a different outcome.
This movie, like the landing itself, is a must see.
4 ½ stars
Running Time: 141 minutes
Release Date: In Cinemas Now
Who is in it: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Pablo Schreiber, Christopher Abbott, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Lukas Haas