Armageddon Time

Armageddon Time

A deeply personal story about the strength of family, the complexity of friendship, and the generational pursuit of the American Dream.

  • Released: 2022-10-28
  • Runtime: 114 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars: Banks Repeta, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Anthony Hopkins, Jaylin Webb, Ryan Sell, Teddy Coluca, Tovah Feldshuh, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Andrew Polk, Lauren Yaffe, Dane West, Dupree Francois Porter, Griffin Wallace Henkel, Jessica Chastain, Stephanie Groves, Marcia Haufrecht, Oona Girton-Marshall, Ian Hernandez-Oropeza, Aidan Christman, Eva Jette Putrello, Landon James Forlenza, John Dinello, Jacob Mackinnon, Jude Washock, Skyler Wenger, Psalm Mitchell, Jack Parrish, Stephanie Aguinaldo, Diamond Washington, Lauren Sharpe, Lizbeth MacKay, Domenick Lombardozzi, John Diehl, Richard Bekins
  • Director: James Gray
  • FilmDevil - 8 November 2023
    Not an action movie
    The gradual irritation, building to a primal scream against injustice is at the core of this movie. How can anyone go through life in a normal way, whilst all around you is so wrong, on so many levels?

    Can you run away? Can you construct your own reality instead?

    As life around you fails to live up to your expectations, how do you navigate the hard edges of life.

    Seen through the eyes of a teenage Jewish boy, the revelations come thick and fast. Mistakes are made. Can our young hero come out of this in a positive way?

    I felt this applied to me, even at my old age.

    A solid coming of age story with some lessons for all of us.
  • eddie_baggins - 2 July 2023
    A surprisingly cold and lacking coming of age drama
    Yet another 2022 released drama from a well-respected director that was inspired by his own family/childhood, joining the likes of Sam Mende's Empire of Light, Alejandro G. Iñárritu's Bardo and Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans, James Gray's personal and no doubt heartfelt 1980's set New York based drama has all the hallmarks of a powerful awards baiting feature but despite the foundation for something moving and memorable, Gray's curiously cold ode to his early years and America's changing landscape fails to land a single significant blow.

    Starring The Black Phone's Banks Repeta as a version of Gray in his earlier years, in the form of trouble-making art aspirant Paul Graff, Armageddon Time (a title inspired by the time in which the film takes place in and under then US President Ronald Reagan's reign) finds itself on dramatic ground that will feel familiar to anyone that's ever watched a coming of age/family centred drama and while there's some talent in front of the camera and behind it, the film looks great thanks to the talented Darius Khondji who is the films DOP here, Gray's film never connects emotionally or finds its narrative mojo that would've made it stand out from the crowd.

    Purchased by Focus Features for a significant sum after some hot early reception at early year film festival's, including a rousing reception at the Cannes Film Festival, in hindsight now it's not hard to see why Time failed to connect in a significant way with the broader critic community or general film going populace when it came and went upon release without much fanfare and failed to ignite at any of the major end of year award ceremonies as Repeta's Paul and the story in which he is learning life lessons in just simply isn't that wholesome or significant.

    We get scenes of Paul fighting with his parents about ordering takeout (parents played by Anne Hathaway and Jeremy Strong in roles that don't give them much in the way of memorable moments), a lacklustre friendship between Paul and lower-class African American fellow student Johnny played impressively by Jaylin Webb and wannabe heart-string tugging lessons with Paul and his loving grandfather played by the always nice too see Anthony Hopkins but Gray is unable to use his personal connection with these segments and characters to give Time the magic that might have seen it become one of the few 2022 big screen dramas that broke out of the doldrums.

    A director who has often found his projects not getting the respect they deserve with the likes of The Lost City of Z, Ad Astra and The Immigrant springing to mind, Time is an unfortunate misstep for the filmmaker who can't translate his passion for this project into making it a drama worth recommending or seeking out.

    Final Say -

    Unable to connect us to its middling dramas or uninspired characters, lead by a young boy who isn't overly likeable or interesting, Armageddon Time fails to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

    2 stolen computers out of 5

    Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)
  • brentsbulletinboard - 10 January 2023
    Anyone Know What the Filmmaker Was Going For Here?
    To be perfectly honest, I was at a loss to understand exactly what writer-director James Gray was going for in this coming of age story. Set in New York in 1980, the film follows the exploits of an ill-behaved Jewish sixth-grader (Banks Repeta) who shows promise as an aspiring artist but operates below his potential, particularly when he engages in largely inexplicable pranks and mischief with his African-American best friend (Jaylin Webb), much to the dismay of his parents (Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong). In fact, the only one who seems to be able to connect with the young man is his wise old grandfather (Anthony Hopkins), a relationship that seems implausible given the protagonist's behavioral track record. But that primary story thread is often muddled by a clumsily handled array of other plotlines and narrative themes related to racial and class privilege, parental abuse and complacency, antisemitism, and a problematic educational system, as well as occasional fantasy sequences. To make matters worse, the camera work is generally far too dark throughout the film, taking its gloomy atmospheric quality to an overwrought, heavy-handed extreme. Collectively, all of these elements are essentially designed to convey the message that "life sometimes isn't fair" (now there's a profound revelation for you), one that the filmmaker appears to be trying to tie to the picture's time frame at the onset of the Reagan Era. This combination makes for a rather disappointing, underwhelming cinematic offering, despite a trailer and marketing materials that appear to promise viewers more. In all fairness, the picture features several fine performances (most notably Hopkins, Hathaway, Webb and a brief walk-on appearance by Jessica Chastain), but the film's lead is played by a young, largely inexperienced actor who's simply not up to the part (and is often as annoying to viewers as he is to his character's parents). That uninspired portrayal undoubtedly is undermined by the film's meandering screenplay and uneven, often-half-baked character development (as seen by Strong's scattered father figure performance). Whatever the filmmaker was trying to say in this seriously unfocused tale is, sadly, likely to leave audiences as perplexed as its adolescent protagonist. Indeed, if anybody out there can clarify this for me, please let me know.
  • ethanbresnett - 9 December 2022
    A mixed bag
    Armageddon Time is a strange one. I enjoyed it, it has a lot to say and says it well for the most part, but it felt like something was missing.

    Firstly it's worth saying the film is full of great performances, particularly Banks Repeta in the lead role. It takes a little warming up to, but he is clearly going for something very specific in his characterisation of Paul and it really does work. The supporting cast of Hopkins, Strong, and Hathaway are all very watchable, especially Hopkins who brings a great warmth to the whole piece.

    The story is where things get a bit mixed. As a coming of age story it touched on some interesting themes and had some poignant points to make about race, family, and 80s America. However as an overall story it missed the mark for me. The narrative arc left a bit to be desired and I sometimes felt a bit of a disconnect from the characters and the story.

    The result is a mixed film that certainly has its moments, but fails to fully draw you in and connect you with its characters.
  • yoyodeep - 27 November 2022
    A film made by naive idealists
    You do drugs at school, you steal cash from your hardworking parents, you steal computers from your classroom, you skip classes for no reason, you plan to run away with your mom's jewelry and lifetime savings. Then you got caught by police, but your black friend take all the responsibilities for you, and you are set free. You are angry with the unfairness but you've never wanted to change it. All you know is to dream of fame and money. Eventually you quit school and become a looser that is entirely useless to the society.---this is the view of the director. The director want us to fight for these loosers? Sorry, let them be. Everyone comes to this world with responsibilities, no matter black or yellow or white. Everyone need work hard for food and bed and for and respect from others. Study hard, Work hard. Do not steal. If you steal, you become a criminal. How simple is that? Why can't the director understand?
  • marnold97306 - 23 November 2022
    A unique and realistic coming of age story
    I was of the same approximate age during the same era as the protagonist's story is told. So I can firsthand say I was very impressed on how the narrative developed throughout with superb realism.

    One of the most important things I had noticed which makes this highly unique to similar coming of age stories is there is no prepubescent sexual angst. Which is more common than not. It was refreshing actually. There are undertones of racism in 1980s in Queens, NY which is expected. The film was not focused on that primarily. Instead it was more weaving an account of a young boy's differences with his parents and their customs.

    Anthony Hopkins was delightful as the boy's grandfather and mentor. The young actor Banks Repeta who played the main was exceptionally good. All and all a delightful change to the repetitive coming of age stories we see more than not.