The Two Reviews: First Man and The Girl in the Spider’s Web

First Man (2018, Universal, DreamWorks and Temple Hill Entertainment)
Directed by Damien Chazelle. Based on First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrongby James R. Hansen. Featuring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler and Ciarán Hinds.

So many movies have been made about space missions. At first I thought that First Man might just be another one of those movies, but it’s not. Damien Chazelle (director of Whiplash and La la Land) provides a new, previously unexplored insight into the life of Neil Armstrong before he became the “first man on the moon”. My favorite Hollywood leading man, Ryan Gosling, plays Armstrong, and he manages a certain level of emotional depth to his portrayal. However, I did find the rest of his performance slightly wooden, along with some of the other actors too. But then again, the script did not do them a lot of favours either.

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The costume design in the movie was great and there are some fantastic costumes from the time periods represented in the movie. Armstrong’s wife is played by British actress Claire Foy, who adds an extra feminine dimension to the movie. She portrays very well the loneliness, fear and resilience of what it really meant to be an astronaut’s wife at a time when space exploration was still very much in its infancy.

The movie also includes a number of tense action moments to keep things entertaining and it’s not bad overall. And to be honest, I mostly when to see it in the first place because I enjoy watching Ryan Gosling!

Reviewed by Annabelle Davis – Rated 3/5

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web (2018, Columbia Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Regency Enterprises)
Directed by Fede Álvarez. Based on The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz. Featuring Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, LaKeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks and Stephen Merchant

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is a sequel to David Fincher’s 2011 film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which itself was based on the 2005 novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson). The movie returns Lisbeth Salander, a vigilante and feminist computer hacker, to the big screen, this time played by the obviously very busy Claire Foy. Based on a book by David Lagercrantz and characters from Larsson’s Millennium trilogy novels, The Girl in the Spider’s Web provides a gritty alternative to the traditional spy movie.

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In a nutshell, a disgruntled former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA) called Frans Balder (played by Merchant) needs to steal a dangerous program that can access the world’s nuclear codes – he had previously helped develop them during his time there – so he hires Salander to help keep the codes away from the wrong people. As interesting as this sounds, the story that unfolds actually turns into a twisted and unique insight into Lisbeth’s childhood. It focuses more on how she became the character she is rather than being an all action thriller.

Whilst The Girl in the Spider’s Web provides a non-stop thrill ride with plenty of action, there are several scenes that detract from the believability of both the characters and the story line. Personally, I preferred Rooney Mara in the role of Lisbeth from the 2011 film. However, whilst Claire Foy lacks some of the edginess that Mara brought to the role, she does provide a new subtle depth into Lisbeth’s character. All in all an entertaining and alternative watch.

Reviewed by Annabelle Davis – Rated 3/5

 

 

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