Armageddon once delivered thrills and megabucks spectacle. Now it’s the unnerving backdrop for satires and family drama

Which films kept you entertained over the holidays? Was it Silent Night, the sweary festive Britcom starring Keira Knightley? The courtroom drama Naked Singularity, with John Boyega as a crusading lawyer? Or did you watch Leonardo DiCaprio as a dorky astronomer in Don’t Look Up, a slapstick political satire? Whichever it was, I hope you poured yourself a large one, because none of those films are quite as light as they seem. All take place in the shadow of imminent Armageddon.

That’s right: the end of the world is nigh, and it’s no longer the preserve of megabudget disaster movies or bleak survivalist thrillers. These days the looming obliteration of our species can just as readily form the backdrop to some governmental mockery or a boozy country-house drama.

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