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Review: Apollo 11

Like many other cinematic genres, the documentary has developed a familiar formula over time: talking heads intercut with archive footage. It is therefore refreshing that Apollo 11, director/producer Todd Douglas Miller’s new movie about NASA’s first lunar landing, departs from this established visual language, instead allowing the images to tell their own story. The gorgeously-restored 70mm photography, razor-sharp editing, and percussive soundtrack combine to create an absolutely immersive experience—a journey into the unknown that’s every bit as harrowing, suspenseful, and immediate as last year’s First Man. And while the presentation couldn’t be simpler, the fact that it defies convention makes it feel positively revolutionary. Apollo 11 joins And Everything Is Going Fine, Tower, and They Shall Not Grow Old as a shining example of what nonfiction filmmakers can accomplish when they dare to take risks.

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