Civil War Review

REVIEW: Civil War

Alex Garland’s Civil War takes place in a dystopian version of the United States, where the states of California and Texas band together against the corrupt government. This second civil war has put the entire nation in turmoil. As the fall of the capitol is evident, journalists Lee (Kirsten Dunst) and Joel (Wagner Moura) plan a trip to DC to interview the president before the Western Forces of California and Texas reach the district. They are joined by a veteran journalist, Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson), and a tagalong aspiring journalist, Jessie (Cailee Spaeny). They all journey from New York City to DC, encountering various violent situations along the way.

Civil War Review

This is the first movie in a long time I debated walking out due to sheer boredom.  I’m still wondering why I sat there the whole time. The film is so monotonous, and none of the characters are interesting by any stretch of the imagination.  Lee, who seemed to have an interesting backstory, stood there most of the time. Joel was a throwaway character who chain-smoked and was featured in various slow-motion scenes of emotional agony. Jessie, the spry aspiring journalist, was just there, getting herself into perilous situations and having the people around her pull her out of harm’s way. At least Sammy was likeable and seemed to be the only intelligent and logical person on the road trip.

Civil War Review

All the scenes began blending and became repetitive. Who knew a film about a civil war could be so utterly uninteresting? There was an insane overuse of slow motion. Several scenes were of the characters screaming and crying in silent, slow motion. I guess it was to attempt to garnish some sympathy for the characters. It didn’t work for me.  The film is just an endless stream of trauma porn through the lens of still cameras.

Civil War Review

I get that this film is probably purposely ambiguous. I am the first person to love ambiguity in a movie; it’s an effective storytelling method, but not when it’s the entire film. I am still wondering what could have happened in this version of the world that caused California and Texas to band together. I could not suspend my disbelief for a millisecond. I read that Alex Garland paired the two states together because they’re opposites, but still.

The whole film is a nothing burger and will be forgotten in another week or two. It had such a great premise, but in the end, it just wasn’t that interesting to follow an uninteresting group of photojournalists. The film trailers sold a much more exciting film than what was presented.

Where to Watch

Civil War | April 12, 2024 (United Kingdom) 7.6


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