Plot: Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) just lost their little daughter to cancer, prompting Neil, who also had some professional disappointments, to apply for a new program at NASA. They all move to Houston and Neil starts working on the Gemini project – the most important project in the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union. But it will take a while before Neil and Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) undertake their historic flight to the moon.
First Man is made of excellent parts that nevertheless feels underwhelming as those excellent parts don’t really make for an excellent whole – even if I can’t put my finger on why that’s the case.
Plot: Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) used to be an Olympic skier but an injury put an end to her career. Looking for a new way to make a living, she moves to Los Angeles and stumbles into the world of gambling. Sharp and business savy as she is, she quickly moves up and becomes a successful host of high stakes poker games – which in turn puts her into the sight of the FBI.
Molly’s Game is the rare case of a film that reaches its climax with the very first scene. But that’s not the only reason it is ultimately disappointing, despite the excellent cast.
Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) expected to be promoted to the head of the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover stepped down. Instead FBI outsider L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas) is. But even though he feels resentful about being passed over, it’s Gray’s handling of one of his first cases – a surveillance operation based, apparently, on unofficial orders from the White House – that really sours things for Felt. He decides to bring the information about the Watergate case anonymously. to the public.
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House shows that spying and whistle-blowing can be absolutely boring affairs. So boring, it’s astounding. I am honestly still in a state of disbelief how that happened.
Plot: Robby (Michael Keaton) runs the Spotlight department of the Boston Globe, meaning he and his team – consisting of Mike (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha (Rachel McAdams) and Matt (Brian d’Arcy James) – do in-depth research to uncover the big stories while not getting bogged down in the day-to-day business of writing news articles. When the Globe hires Marty (Liev Schreiber) as the new editor-in-chief, Marty asks the Spotlight team to dive into the story of child abuse by a catholic priest. The more they dig, the more they start to uncover until it becomes clear that the problem runs much deeper than just one priest.
Spotlight was an engaging film with great performances and about an important topic. I don’t know if you can say that you enjoyed a story about systematic abuse, but watching Spotlight it’s probably the closest you’ll ever gonna get to that.