He got lost in the jungle, James Gray, and then he went over the moon. But the ultimate goal is always the return home, to the past, to Queens and to the family. This time Gray adds autobiographical specificity to a confessional film about a teenager who doesn’t realize his own privilege. Paul’s (captured perfectly by the light stubbornness of the young Banks Repeta) sometimes seems a self-destructive instinct, a perennial refusal of one’s own reality. It’s a feature that pays off Armageddon Time a repelling work, which does not invite the viewer’s participatory gaze, as in Anderson’s Licorice pizza, and breaks the codes of the traditional “coming of age”. Gray forces us to observe an America where racism also snakes its way into the living room of a liberal family frightened by Reagan, and forces us to listen to Trump’s parents talk to private school students about the importance of success as a definition of self. More heterogeneous and granular than the director’s first films, it evokes the eighties as a critical moment of transition for the stars and stripes society.
The film Armageddon Time – The Time of the Apocalypsedirected by James Gray, is distributed by Universal Pictures and will be released Thursday, March 23.