Civil War (2024)

Civil War Review

Civil War

Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson are as well. Cailee Spaeny holds her own among these veterans.

The moment democracy recedes a bit and fails to catch, violence and chaos storm right in on it. Civil War is a tightly edited, blazingly powerful political thriller that drives this point home forcefully with an unsettling twist of insight and integrity. Alex Garland, the writer-director, envisions an American dystopian future where the United States of America no longer remains united but stands at breaking point. A conceited President sitting in the White House and several belligerents who never really know why they want anything or what it would be like – don’t matter at all – engage themselves into a no-holds-barred war.

It is not the details but devil behind them – pitfalls of abuse of power – that Civil War probes herein. The director from England has found his niche in unconventional themes and ways. Sci-fi went back at Ex Machina; cosmic terror invaded Annihilation; earthy horror enveloped Men within English countryside settings.

Civil War serves as Alex Garland’s fourth film which demonstrates how much damage political venality can cause irreversibly. In between quiet moments occasionally interrupted by cracking action, the film focuses squarely on truth dynamics amidst an escalating conflict. The seekers are four journalists.

When democracy begins to recede and the safety nets fail, violence and chaos inevitably rush in to fill the vacuum. Civil War, a tautly edited, blisteringly powerful political thriller, drives home the point with unsettling force and a rare level of insight and integrity. Writer-director Alex Garland imagines a dystopian near future where the United States of America, no longer united, is on the brink of caving in upon itself. A dangerously pompous President ensconced in the White House and an array of armed combatants – one is never quite sure who wants what and why, but it does not matter – are locked in a fierce war.

It is not the details but the devil that lies behind them – the pitfalls of abuse of power – that Civil War probes. The English director’s penchant for unconventional material and methods holds him in good stead. Ex Machina was sci-fi reimagined, Annihilation forayed into cosmic terror, and Men delivered earthy horror in an English countryside setting.

Civil War, Alex Garland’s fourth film, explores the irreversible damage that political venality can wreak. Amid the cracking action that punctuates the film’s quieter moments, the focus is firmly on the dynamics of truth amid a worsening conflict. The seekers are four journalists.

Rebels – they belong to a ‘Western Force’ made up of two politically different states Texas and California united under a two-star flag – have set out to attack White House and overthrow President who has taken his third term despite being against democratic principles.

These include war-worn photographer Lee Smith (Kirsten Dunst), veteran Latino reporter Joel (Wagner Moura), their mentor Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson), and a rookie news photographer Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) who inveigles her way into the group in spite of Lee’s annoyance. These are the first to meet the President in 14 months and to cover the fast unfolding events during their journey from New York to Washington D.C.

Alex Garland does not take sides, but he makes allusions that reflect contemporary surroundings throughout the film. Here, the director takes an observer’s stance. As such, it mirrors the impartiality of journalists immersed in Civil War. This works very well against a background of intense conflict.

This film is both cerebral and visceral thriller that divides audiences sharply over what becomes of a nation through power greediness after compromise of tested political institutions and its backlash.

In New York City as well, we see some journalists attesting to police brutality against demonstrators on the streets while they watch it happening before them. She saves Jessie, aged 23 (Cailee Spaeny), from one such incident.

The story centres largely on how two women who are different in terms of age, experience and temperament relate with each other. Jessie looks up to Lee like a hero. The latter is an experienced journalist who has had too much violence for her to be affected emotionally by anything hence she keeps her feelings hidden behind steel walls.

But things change when this war reaches White House. The young freshman shows great prospects for rising quick enough with his proficiency enhancing within days only. The older woman experiences one deep psychological fall still being there done that but almost loses herself until finally another outburst comes back again to remind her own self.

Both Lee and Joel are older than Cailee but far less cynical about life than she is based on this observation while they respect Stanley McKinley Henderson (“Sammy”) whose character as a wise old man is an advantage to the film. Though the character of Sammy is not young anymore, he has kept his strength, which he proves at one point when he does a fantastic action.

The president had also dissolved FBI and ordered air raids on civilians. He appears briefly in the Oval Office during the opening scenes of this movie… This speech has him going back and forth over a line or two while practicing before boasting about how revolutionary and exaggerated it sounds.

He then immediately amends this grand claim slightly with “the greatest victory in military conflict of all time.” In fact, words are all that matter here. The human life being lost outside on streets and cities do not matter.

The film contains two extraordinary balancing acts. These include intimate conversations revealing character and personal history as well as explosive gripping action scenes.

Alex Garland does not dilute the core idea of the film – journalists as a troubled nation’s last line of defence against authoritarianism and erosion of individual liberties – even when his focus is squarely on the uneasy role model-admirer drama involving the two photojournalists.

Civil War is served magnificently well by the work of cinematographer Rob Hardy, who misses nothing that can accentuate the impact of the visuals of a war-hit landscape. Be it a deserted JC Penney car park, a football stadium turned into a medical relief camp, bombed-out tanks and vehicles or a mangled helicopter, distress is written into every frame by the camera.

Film editor Jake Roberts imparts unrelenting pace to the action. No less impactful are the music score (Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury) and sound design.

The four principal actors play people who are from the same fraternity but are distinct from each other as individuals and professionals. They inform their interpretations with an astoundingly wide range of experiences and emotions.

Kirsten Dunst is brilliant in this movie with her performance ranking amongst her best ever. Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson also give great performances. Cailee Spaeny holds her own among these stalwarts; she captures Jessie’s evolution beautifully.

Watch Civil War For Free On Gomovies.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top