James Gray returns to theaters with “Armageddon Time – The time of the Apocalypse”


James Gray returns to theaters with

“Armageddon Time” is the new film by James Gray (Two Lovers, Ad Astra) released in Italian cinemas on March 23, 2023. Presented in competition at Cannes, it is distributed by Universal Pictures. A film where the director retraces his childhood years.

In reality, the reference to the song is a cover by the Clash that occasionally appears in the film. We are at the beginning of the 80s. Paul Graff is the main boy (Banks Repeat) who dreams of a career as an artist. However, faced with the urgencies dictated by the world of grown-ups, she distances herself or finds solace in Johnny’s friendship (Ryan Sell), a repeating boy at school, unfortunate because he lives only with his grandmother and moreover black.

“Make America Great Again”

Paul’s story spans Reagan’s imminent arrival in the White House. For his poor academic performance, his beloved grandfather Aaron (Anthony Hopkins is always a certainty) helps his family get him enrolled in a private school. Li will experience even more on his skin the expectations of the teachers and of a certain Trump and his daughter who subsidize the institute and trust in students who “will make America great”. Paul reacts with an action that will risk putting his life in danger, but he won’t bow to that logic.

The description of the family picture with the grandfather is very beautiful, a true human and moral reference for Paul, the father (a very good Jeremy Strong) who strives to be a family reference and the mother Anne Hathaway. Parents who can’t stand the boy’s dissatisfaction, his inability to bend to the rules. Paul prefers the light-heartedness of a backpack to the briefcase and baby manager suit imposed by the private school.

Rewind of memories

There are many directors who at some point in their careers rewind their memories. In this case, director James Gray, in addition to rewinding personal memories, wants to emphasize the hedonism that will be the ground on which America will base its cultural and political hegemony in the years to come. Not only that, the origins of the family (Jewish-Ukrainian) will be a way to reclaim the hopes of those who have seen their fulfillment in America.

Armageddon Time it’s a sobering film about a transformation of America that has left nothing but dust in recent years. A tender fresco of a boy’s dreams colliding with a world without identity.

edited by
Beppe Ardito

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