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Given that we all know how the mission turned out, this documentary about the Apollo 11 lunar landing shouldn’t be as nervily tense as it is. But the archive-only approach – unlike the 2007 picture In the Shadow of the Moon, there are no contemporary interviews, just material recorded at the time – lends the film an immersive sense of urgency. Like the rows of crew-cut, clench-jawed scientists staring fixedly at banks of grainy screens 50 years before, we almost forget to breathe as Armstrong manoeuvres a rickety little capsule that looks like it’s held together with duct tape and faith.
There is no shortage of factual films that explore this moment. But a combination of superb research – behind-the-scenes footage is augmented by newsreel shots of crowds camped out in the car park of a JC Penney department store, craning to catch a glimpse of history – and first-rate editing makes this lift off. A celebration of human endeavour, and of a rare moment of global unity.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Apollo 11 review – a front-row seat for the moon landing | Film