Review: In the wrenching ‘Armageddon Time,’ a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege as he returns to his boyhood home to see his father hanged — only to learn that he’s not the only one with a chip on his shoulder.
When you grow up, you think it’s your birthright. But as a 12-year-old boy growing up in Brooklyn, it’s a privilege.
In the wrenching “Armageddon Time,” a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege as he returns to his boyhood home to see his father hanged — only to learn that he’s not the only one with a chip on his shoulder.
In the film’s opening moments, a black man named Walter (Jason Mitchell), who’s just turned 16, shows up to the house his family’s been renting for the last two years. He’s carrying his belongings and a suitcase. He’s been staying there for a week.
The house has been torn down and a new rental built out elsewhere. But Walter is still being accommodated. His parents, Walter’s late stepsister and her baby, all live in the original rental, with the house where Walter lives. Walter’s father, whom he calls Grandpa — whom everyone calls Pops — is not dead but in the hospital. And so too are his mom and dad. They’ll be all right. Walter can’t believe that his dad is in the hospital, but he’ll make it back; and with the help of some of his black friends, he’ll make his way to the right place — the only place that’s allowed to let him into the city. But Pops isn’t there.
Walter feels himself at the end of his life, his legs and arms and head aching. He’s been waiting for this for so long. “I was on a plane,” he explains to his two black friends, one of whom he calls Junior. “I was on that fucking plane for two years. I went four years of being just like, ‘I’m coming home. I’m coming home.’ And my little boy was there…. It feels like the moment just happened to me. You take away all the things that made life meaningful and you have this one thing that was very