‘Armageddon Time’: From Reagan to Trump, the Origins of the American Nightmare


James Gray’s new film depicts a gloomy, tumultuous and moral history of the past on the thread that links one Republican president with another.

Anne Hathaway and JamesGrey in Presentation
Anne Hathaway and James Gray at the Cannes screening of “Armageddon Time.”LOIC VENANCEAFP
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Attitude is everything. Jean Vigo made it this way he defined “document approach” To present an image of reality that was both emotional and moral. It remained in the director’s ideology, against false and arrogant objectivity, and against arbitrary subjectivity. ‘Atlanta’ The possibility of a way of seeing modified by emotion and moral reason alike. Few reflections are so suitable, though a bit cryptic, given the heat. In a place like Cannes where everything is to be seen and to be seen. And we’re not necessarily talking about movies.

The official class was suddenly taken aback by the approach offered by one of the much-awaited films. The new work of the director of ‘ad Astra ‘ hey ‘Jade, the Lost City’ Leave the adventure and the space, the jungle and the moon, now to the deepest and hands-on focus: in his own childhood. That’s what’s hot, sad and shiny’ it’s aboutArmageddon’s time, Out of that and in a slightly grim time — and always according to the director’s reading — Reagan’s rise laid the foundation for the ultraliberal disaster that would come with Trump.

James Gray recounts the life of a boy named Paul Graff (watch out for the red-haired young actor Banks Repeta). His family of Jewish origin lives in the suburbs and is still relied upon. Trust yourself and what emerged after the war promised prosperity in return for effort, regardless of what was not shared. a grandfather, a splendid Anthony Hopkins, which still keeps alive the flames of immigrants who found a new desirable and intact life in America; and there’s mom (Anne Hathaway) and father (Jeremy Strong), Convinced that the core value lies in the mango.

It won’t take long for doubts to appear. The child of artistic aspirations will soon join hands with a black fellow (Jaylyn Webb) that not all are (or are) equal. When he changes from a public school to a private school whose board of trustees includes Donald Trump’s father as one of its members, the dream ends and the nightmare begins. And till today.

Directors keep the burden of proof on the other side of the screen. Hence, the correctness of the approach. On the framed surface of the screen, family members eat, argue, love each other and sometimes hate each other. All very confused and very aware of nostalgia and feverish nostalgia that childhood always experiences.

Yet the real drama follows, which is barely seen, in the barely heard words, on the other side of the door, in the teacher’s punitive form, in the mother’s illegitimate and nimble tears, in the father’s angry attack, in the grandfather’s discerning silence. In the insistence of grandma… Gray manages to turn what could have been for melodrama into just one mood. In that and from one point of view, that matters.

The political reading is there: clear and hard too. But far from imposing itself, it flows like the black bile of sadness. Deep, emotional and deeply moral. that nothing else ‘Armageddon Time’, The chronology of the precise moment in which the world, a certain world, came to an end and emerged from it, always according to Grey, to which we now walk. therefore.

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