Box Office - 09/01/2007
"Interspersed with well-chosen archival film footage....[With] some genuine, delightful characters....The human touch is what distinguishes IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON..."
Entertainment Weekly - 09/07/2007
"IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON finds new resonance in the moment when America redefined progress..." -- Grade: A
New York Times - 09/07/2007
"[A] morale booster. The power of its archival images hasn't diminished with familiarity..."
USA Today - 09/07/2007 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "Science and humanity are fused lyrically in this astonishing film....The most stirring moments are the recollections of 10 Apollo astronauts."
Rolling Stone - 09/20/2007 3 stars out of 4 -- "[T]he film is a bracing reminder of a moment in history in which pride is justified....Inspiring as the astronauts recall raw details..."
Total Film - 11/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Amid the candid memories lies often mesmerizing footage of space....It's hard not to be moved by its beauty."
Empire - 10/19/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "Almost 40 years after Apollo 11's historic first moon-landing, the lovingly restored footage still retains power."
Uncut - 12/01/2007 5 stars out of 5 -- "Like the Apollo programme itself, it's a beautiful and irresistible hymn to human possibility."
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2007
"[The film] offers sensations as thrilling as those of APOLLO 13....The film plays like a time-capsule of bottled-up optimism."
Los Angeles Times - 09/07/2007
"This NASA documentary is a fabulously fresh take on a special group of audacious men called astronauts....An unexpected knockout."
America's quest to put a man on the moon, while both fascinating and inspiring, has been well covered on film, perhaps most notably in FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON and APOLLO 13. Add to that a space program that by the early 2000s ranked near Abscam in terms of public interest, and it's easy to see why the documentary IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON might be a tough sell. Yet this simple, stylish look at the Apollo space program is a quietly powerful rumination on the nature of patriotism, heroism, and humanity.
Director David Sington utilizes a narrator-less structure that intercuts stunning stock footage with insightful commentary from the surviving astronauts who walked on the moon. There are no experts, no voiceovers, and no recreations. It's a style that works quite well, recalling the work of Errol Morris. While the space shots and the behind-the-scenes footage of NASA operations are fascinating, the astronauts--Buzz Aldrin, Dave Scott, and Alan Bean, among them--are a revelation. Variously witty, heartfelt, modest, and humbled when discussing their journeys into space, it's easy to understand why these men were heroes to a generation. Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this film is the way in which the viewer is reminded of how genuinely stunning the Apollo mission was for not only the United States, but the world. One need not be reminded that 1969 was a tumultuous year for Earth, and Neil Armstrong's famous one small step for man literally united the planet, giving true credence to the latter half of his famous statement. The movie posits that for one fleeting moment the world was together and at peace. IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON expertly recreates that moment, without a shred of excess patriotism, pretense, or sentiment.