Last Word on First Man An exclusive post from the newsletter

I was a bit hard on Damien Chazelle’s “First Man” in today’s post. It does have one interesting aspect to recommend it that I neglected to mention: in many ways, the film is an ode to interfaces. To construct his narrative of high-risk, made-it-up-as-they-went-along, early space flight, Chazelle utilizes a ton of beautiful shots of instrument panels, dials and controls. They convey the tension in the narrative in a quasi-quantified way that gives us a highly plausible sense of the real danger of these missions, all the while shimmering and shaking with exquisite detail in the film’s gorgeous lighting. It’s an inadvertent valentine to the analog age. I’d actually be very keen to show rather than tell here, but that won’t be possible until the movie ships on Blu-Ray. Right now that’s looking like it will happen in January. Despite my tepid response to the film as a whole, I’ll likely buy a copy just to have another look at these particular shots. And who knows, when I watch it again, I may actually warm up to this flick.