In the Shadow of the Moon
Astronaut interviews and never-seen footage recall NASA’s moon missions.
by David Sington

4 of 4 stars
Rated: PG
Release Date: 9/7/2007

NASA isn’t what it used to be, said Jim Ridley in The Village Voice. Since the moon shots of the 1960s and ’70s, the agency’s mission has drifted. British director David Sington’s “well-timed corrective,” In the Shadow of the Moon, is a thrilling documentary that recalls NASA’s early missions through never-seen footage and interviews with the first astronauts. The Apollo astronauts were a unique bunch, said Andrew O’Hehir in Sington’s film provides “a fascinating excursion into the minds of a group of well-educated but necessarily pragmatic men who have shared an extraordinary, and literally transcendent, experience.” Astronaut Michael Collins (the man who sat inside the lander while Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong walked) is particularly articulate and interesting, offering fresh perspectives on his mission and a reverent portrait of Armstrong, known to his colleagues as “Dr. Cool” for his grace under pressure. The film’s unexpectedly poignant aspect is its account of how the wider world united around these astronauts, said Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times. Even during the dark days of the Vietnam War, the world celebrated the American space explorers as heroes. “It feels good to remember those days, even now. Especially now.”