- It’s up not up to Whiplash, Chazelle’s breakout second feature, and I’m positive it doesn’t touch La La Land his stylistic sonic boom 2016 masterpiece
- Shot in 16mm grain for much of it, then 35 mm and some IMAX camera work for the moon sequences
- The handheld 16mm vérité with lots of close-ups, POV camera rattling/vibrating, is clearly Chazelle’s choice- as much as the crane shots, tracking in vibrant cinemascope and technicolor was the choice for la la land– at least there is still a hard-lined dedication to an aesthetic here
- Thematic consistency in Chazelle’s oeuvre – like Miles Teller’s Andrew in Whiplash who has an unhealthy obsession with greatness- and like la la land– throws much of the personal relationship overboard for it
- I think it’s Chazelle’s way of showing he has a changeup or secondary pitch- a deliberate choice to do something different—La La Land was him throwing fastballs— and this is different, it’s not a musical, it’s based on a true story, a period piece, not awash in color, not written by Chazelle, etc— to me it’s his Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (it even has the “Wizard of Oz” door opening moment!) if Chazelle is this generation’s Scorsese- which I think he is (or could be). Alice is a very good film- even if it’s not great- and it’s not Mean Streets or Taxi Driver
- The camera is pinned to certain shots like the window- showing the visceral and experiential impact on the other astronauts
- this shot with the curtains is phenomenal- more out of “la la land” than “first man” honestly
- The film lacks the stylistic bravado so pervasive in La La Land and there in the gorgeous editing finale of Whiplash and little touches like the opening tracking shot in the open doorway as Teller practices on his own
- Gosling is magnificent—underplayed, interior—stoicism- dry, wounded
- A strong score- -the main theme reminded me of The Deer Hunter a little bit- lyrical—from Justin Hurwitz who has worked with Chazelle on all three of his films
2.0 viewing March 2019
- the in-flight sequences are well edited- Chazelle and editor Tom Cross create a rhythm with their sequence of angles
- in many ways it delightfully skews the biopic movie tropes but Chazelle goes overboard stripping this film down– he seems to revel in the unexceptionalness of his film which is disappointing from someone who gave us such an expressionistic masterpiece in his previous outing. It’s almost as if Chazelle wanted match the dryness and understatement of Armstrong with his visual approach
- period detail, not just in the 16mm– but costume and set design with Campbell’s soup in the background
- detailed date/time titles ground it in docudrama– we also have Chazelle interweaving the normal domestic life with Armstrong’s work– parts are almost like Malick’s Tree of Life but stripped of the beauty and poetry (yes, that’s an insult)
- the Leon Bridges scene is just out of place and we get a new perspective– it’s bad form
I rewatched it and I’m a little confused, certainly not Whiplash and La La Land but the visuals make a pretty interesting case and there’s some amazing shots and mise-en-scene in there. I think I’m closer to HR, complicated situation, it’s really hard for me to evaluate it.
@Cinephile– thanks for sharing. I’ll probably give it another go when Chazelle next comes out. How far down your top 10 of 2018 do you go before you get to it? I got to 10 pretty easily without thinking about it and there are a few others, not on my top 10, that I would name before getting to it, too.
@Drake— I surely need some time to unpack so I can’t tell if its surely going to end up in my top 10 but I think if someone told me he got it at #10 or #9 I wouldn’t argue.