Starring: Banks Repeta, Anthony Hopkins, Jeremy Strong, Anne Hathaway, and Jaylin Webb
Director: James Gray
James Gray’s Armageddon Time is unlikely to be viewed as a masterwork or a revolutionary act of cinema, but it has more than enough for true cinephiles to enjoy. The film’s messaging is a tad difficult to grasp, but it still mostly works. Gray’s most personal film yet, the semi-autobiographical tale feels like a movie both from its time and of its time, that being 1973 to around 1980. Banks Repeta is great as the lead character, and he gets strong support from the whole ensemble, but it’s Anthony Hopkins who provides the soul of the story.
Armageddon Time is a relatively basic coming-of-age story that puts forth many ideas without really committing to one. There are some plot holes that easily could have been filled in, but they are simply glanced over to help move the story along. Also, this film loses a lot of its shine when Anthony Hopkins is not on screen. That's not to say anything of the cast…everyone has a good showing…but Hopkins’ presence ignites something that fades in his absence. This is a film made for awards recognition, and since it’s bound to fall short of that, it must be viewed as a disappointment.
Writer/director James Gray’s semi-autobiographical Armageddon Time is unlikely to pull on the heartstrings, but that’s what I liked about it. This film ditches the Oscar-bait sentimentality in exchange for an honest and raw look at Gray’s childhood. While I don’t think all of the political stuff worked, I did like the familial aspects. The entire cast does a great job too, but Banks Repeta does a particularly standup job as the lead while Jeremy Strong and Anthony Hopkins also are fantastic. For many reasons, both good and bad, this film just resonated with me.
This film was reviewed by Jacob as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 New York Film Festival.