Review: Armageddon Time
A deeply personal coming-of-age story about the strength of family and the generational pursuit of the American Dream.
Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb & Anthony Hopkins.
Armageddon time is the newest film from James Gray, a director I deeply admire because of the emotional vulnerability present in his entire filmography. While I don’t know too much but the American dream, it’s clear how it’s negatively affected real aspirations for the young at the time. Being the perfect family, meeting America’s expectations to fit in and do well is all too much for a child that has his heads in the clouds.
Everyone here is fantastic, delivering complex performances as characters with so much negative inner turmoil torn between a regular family and the American family. Anthony Hopkins is my favourite, despite his minimalist scenes, he broke me down. His tender voice and subtle expressions that immediately tell you “everything is going to be okay” had me grinning through my teeth, along with a tear or two. His relationship with Paul was an absolute heartwarming joy to see. His presence in his film was wonderfully conveyed through the casting, as we’ve come to understand over many years that Anthony Hopkins is such a beautiful soul and is bright as day in this.
Another side of the story that touched me deeply was Paul’s friendship with Johnny, who is constantly discriminated and it’s clear Paul doesn’t entirely understand why. As he’s growing up in a time where the American dream is present, yet fading, his expectations on the world are different. Both their dreams for one another became the core of the film, as we as an audience are constantly rooting for their success. We want them to beat the system.
My favourite scene comes around the end of the third act, involving Anthony Hopkins on a bench. A moment that will stick with me for a while & one I will come back to in the future.
James Gray has a great eye that is always consistent within his films. This film looked gorgeous at times, homely mostly, with warm lighting that gave off a calm impression. Contrasting with its moments of fear and sadness. It never disappointed with neither it’s visual storytelling, or coverage.
However, the third act comes along and while still great, loses itself. Often feeling as though it’s the second 2nd act of the film, with its conclusion and pacing. Nearing the end, we arrive on a moment that felt perfect to be the end or at least one that would carry on towards its ending with a conjoined score. This, unfortunately was broken by a cut until we get the real ending, which I didn’t love. The emotional beat at the end should have lasted to its final frame, but was lost.
Armageddon Time may appear familiar at times, but the heart and empathy towards its entire story brought me to tears. While a conflicting family dynamic, it is perfectly conveyed through the theme of the American dream and aspiration. James Gray has impressed once again & I deeply look forward to his next feature.