Review: In the wrenching ‘Armageddon Time,’ a filmmaker powerfully confronts his own privilege
In “Armageddon Time,” David E. Talbot plays a man who makes a deal with the devil. It’s a small, dark room in a nondescript motel, and it’s as if the walls have been erected with a single purpose: to contain and imprison the man. Talbot himself is in the room, in a sort of cage, for at least part of the film. He’s dressed in a suit and is surrounded by a pair of armed guards. When he turns on the TV, for the first time, he comes across a program that is a rare documentary that has been aired before. It features a group of people “going in” to perform an illegal abortion.
The woman who is about to do the procedure calls the director, who is in the room with them, and she says that they don’t have much time left and she knows he won’t get out of there alive. But as the woman tells the filmmakers, “I have to live. I have a child. He needs me.” She ends her call by saying, “See you soon, David.” Her voice sounds so far away that it nearly disappears into the air.
“Armageddon Time” is an agonizing, gripping portrait of its characters, and a terrifying portrait of someone’s privilege. There are many characters in the movie, and in the end it’s only the director, David Talbot (played by Talbot), who makes the choice to remain inside the room.
Talbot is a man who has grown up in a wealthy suburb of New York City. He went to university and earned a law degree. He’s a brilliant writer who has written a series of short stories about people who die in the end. He has an “amazing” wife and two children. He has a successful career as a lawyer. He runs his own law firm in his backyard in a quiet suburb of New York. He was chosen to be the editor of the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case that will allow the United States to bomb Iran.
And he is, at the very least, a man who likes to think he is better off than the people who live around him. He was able to leave his family behind to come back to his mother’s place in Florida for a little vacation. His parents, who