05th Jan2023

‘Armageddon Time’ Blu-ray Review

by Guest

Stars: Banks Repeta, Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Jaylin Webb, Anthony Hopkins | Written and Directed by James Gray

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

James Gray‘s Armageddon Time is without a doubt not only one of the most unique films of last year but also one of the most unique coming-of-age films I’ve ever seen. This is a searing and oftentimes emotionally heart-wrenching drama that never pulls any punches. It’s so raw and unfiltered and it’s what makes it so special. Gray could’ve easily put together a film that utilized the tried-and-true formula of other coming-of-age films that have been successful, but instead, he wanted to toy with a few things and pull some tricks that you won’t see coming. This completely feels like an Oscar-worthy drama.

The writing and directing on display here are fantastic, but the real heart and soul of this film is Banks Repeta in the role of Paul Graff, a Jewish-American who has to come to terms with adolescence. We get to see a lot of his home life which is quite terrible and strict. He only really gets to enjoy his life when he’s at school and hanging out with his friend Johnny Davis, who many people don’t like simply because he’s black. Lots of people in Paul’s life tell him to stay away from Johnny because of the colour of his skin and they often warn him about hanging out with him too much.

But Paul couldn’t care less about the colour of Johnny’s skin. The scenes in which we simply get to watch these two youngsters have fun and just be kids are some of the most heartfelt and touching of the entire year. Their friendship is so strong that it makes some of the later scenes even more emotional. And this relationship wouldn’t have worked as well as it did if it wasn’t for the amazing performances from Banks Repeta and Jaylin Webb, respectively.

We’re also treated to an absolutely wonderful performance from Anthony Hopkins here, who portrays Paul’s grandfather Aaron Rabinowitz. His role in this film certainly isn’t a massive one in terms of how much screen time he actually has, but his character is definitely integral to the overall plot.

There are certain instances in which Armageddon Time drags – namely its first act which takes a considerably long time to get going – but it’s mostly a moving coming-of-age drama that manages to pull off a few tricks. It’s definitely not the kind of movie you’re expecting it to be… It is instead a searing and emotionally powerful coming-of-age drama wonderfully written and directed by James Gray, and featuring a fantastic lead performance by Banks Repeta.

**** 4/5

Armageddon Time is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, in the US. The film is released in the UK on February 20th 2023.

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