Review: In the wrenching ‘Armageddon Time,’ a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege, his own racism, and the white-supremacist culture of the GOP as seen from the black side.
When an HBO movie is critically acclaimed, there’s a certain amount of excitement in the air. But then I find myself on the receiving end of that excitement, as a fan who can appreciate and agree with the film, but is also surprised at the movie.
I’m certainly not the only one who thinks this happened to me on Armageddon Time, a film that took the award-winning drama from the director of Weeds, who was previously known for his critically acclaimed short films “St. James Infirmary” and “The Ghetto Child,” and moved it into the world of HBO’s big, sprawling drama, which was co-created by John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. In the process, the film’s tone and style changed markedly, just as the character and plot structure of James Woods’s character underwent dramatic shift as he grew into a man of the Left instead of a right-wing populist. However, while the film did a great deal to change how the left perceived HBO’s political drama, it was an easy target for critics, who noted its shift away from the progressive, progressive-leaning spirit of the original series, and also criticized it as yet another political, white-man-centric, conservative-sympathizing film from its creator of five years.
I think it’s safe to say that when a movie does that to me, I’m the least surprised of people. When a movie is praised, I often find myself excited, and yet deeply saddened by the film I watched. The problem there is that the film doesn’t often have a great deal to do with the person who wrote the review, and I’m not the only one who thinks that.
HBO’s own Mike Maleson called it the “most politically astute movie” that HBO has yet produced, and it’s not a fluke. While I’m sure you’ve heard of the series, it’s the most conservative of HBO’s shows, and thus far more conservative than any of the shows on their current, flagship cable network, which is made up of three of HBO’s programs: The Wire, The Newsroom, and Vice. To