First off, the shaky cam for the entire movie... It looked like they strapped a go pro to a comfort dog. It felt like nothing was in focus, and my eyes were constantly adjusting and trying to find what I was supposed to be looking at. Like a child stole the camera out his parents hands with no notion of how to operate it.
And the parts of Neil Armstrong's life that they chose to show... I felt like they must have chosen the most mundane and boring parts. Like showing how hard it was for his wife to raise their children while he was working. That should be a touching and thought provoking idea. But it came off as annoying, and a padding for the film so it'd be 2 hours. But the film ends up feeling like a 4 hour film with only 20 - 30 minutes worth of content.
I'm not a film maker, so I know I shouldn't judge, but surely, any other film maker would have made this movie it in a way to at least hold your interest. Any after school special would have at least hit me with some key points to hold my attention. Which brings me to terribly slow pace of the editing. I felt like they cut all the emotional parts out, and left in the silent moments after the emotion had passed. And it's horribly boring to watch. I kept having in inject my own imagination into the movie, to help it along. Like why is Neil acting like that now? Why is he with holding his emotions with his wife? Is he stressed? Nervous? Terrified? I'm missing those moments and only showed the moments where he walks into his house, pours a glass of lemon tea, and then lies and said he forgot something at the office. And what office? We never saw him in an office... I don't understand why 70% of the scenes were left in the movie.
The training aspects were great. Why he was selected would have been interesting to watch. But we only get a slight glimpse. I never really got to see what made Neil Armstrong a better candidate than say, Joe Normal Guy. What drove him to try and fly a plane into outer space in the first shot? This movie didn't explore his motivation at all.
A few of his buddies having drinks in the backyard, also we're good to show the camaraderie. Jason Clarke was great. All the acting was great I'd say. Great casting too I think. They felt like a team. That's why I'm guessing the slow paced and failure to intrigue me is due to the team behind the camera. Director, editing, writing.
Maybe this is the director's first film.. I just skimmed his imdb page. And I read he's a great writer. But he didn't write this. That just seems like a terrible fit for this movie. All directors have to start somewhere I guess. But if you ask me would I think the writer of Lalaland would be a good fit to not write First Man, but only to direct it, I'd say of course not! Why would he even pop into your mind? I'm not in the movie business, so I can't connect these dots. But I'm guessing the dots are more about connections he has in the industry rather than being the right guy for the job. I've seen a lot of bad movies and bad directors before. And after watching First Man, this director is definitely one that I'm going to avoiding in the future. Maybe if he writes and directs his own movie it'd be watchable.. I really hope he can prove me wrong..