The Right Stuff (1983)
Philip Kaufman approaches this project like a visionary, bringing numerous angles, aspects and tones to his film. As a result, The Right Stuff is a massively rich movie about the classic space race between USA and the Soviet Union in the middle of the 20th century. Kaufman backbones his subject on the history of aviation, centered around the records of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager – and the people following in his footsteps. For an introduction, this section is extremely extensive, and by the time NASA enters the picture with their space programme, the amount of Kaufman's quirky humour increases notably. The mixture of comedy and apparent serious human drama makes – at 3 hours – The Right Stuff an offbeat movie. It constantly attracts interest, but also becomes rather detached at times. One can't help but feel that the film could have profited from a more economic cutting, which would have reduced the amount of focus it gives to certain sub-plots. With that said, The Right Stuff becomes increasingly tighter and more magnetic towards the end, as Kaufman applies some delicate touches. The ensemble of actors are largely fine, with Dennis Quaid's devilishly boyish smile the main attraction.