Civil War Review

Civil War
Civil War

Instead, we are left in the dark as to what exactly caused this civil strife termed by Alex Garland, both a feature and flaw of his film. It is because one can fill in the blanks that make it effective; by having ‘unexplained’ reasons why the United States got torn apart into three factions, it can be used to endorse any ideology or theory about America’s division better. Moreover, the absence of specifics has made it possible for this storyline to become more malleable and less dependent on how well-versed an individual is with American politics – actually, the less you know about today’s political landscape, the more sense the Civil War will make.

However, even here Civil War evades the issue because the real storyline is less about intra-state conflict and more about a Road trip movie featuring a group of journalists trying to interview the president along the way (Nick Offerman gives a small and quiet performance), which also documents how the union is doing. This is Garland’s big magic trick and what sets the Civil War apart.

The point at which we enter this narrative for instance involves Lee who is a veteran war correspondent and has seen several atrocities committed by human beings themselves something that Kristen Dunst depicts through her face that shouts out loud “I have seen some sh***’, signifying her desensitization to violence but also her disillusionment with her own nation undergoing similar conflicts she had watched overseas when she was quiet. She goes hand in hand with Joel played by Wagner Moura who is a rogue reporter who finds violence amusing; he feeds off looking in death’s eyes while living for risk. Their relationship brings some relief considering all other issues within an emotional account since Moura presents his character as full of exhilaration and mirth thus complementing Dun’s sombreness.

Accompanying them is Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson), an elderly writer accompanying them just like an older brother who must take care of a youthful character like Jessie (Cailee Spaeny). Priscilla makes her an interesting character against the backdrop of a really bad situation. All she wants in this world is to become part of a combat journalist gang and, without realizing the danger of it all, looks up to Lee who is an idol for her.

This is what Garland wanted to say about the Civil War: he aimed at making a very large love letter concerning journalism that could manage to convey the commitment, impact, sacrifice, happiness, and excitement in relaying important news as Aaron Sorkin would have liked to do in The Newsroom. Civil War starts with the first view of Lee, Joel, and Sammy sitting together in a hotel room somewhere in New York talking jovially about their experiences while ignoring a terrible suicide attack that they had just witnessed which leads us through a poignant and honest representation of war journalism’s toll on journalists as well as how they deal with their own horror to tell other people “a warning home” says Lee. That’s where Garland uses his civil-war setting; it also shows everything else that Americans have failed to discuss because “nothing like these ever happens here.”

To that end, Civil War portrays violence in a very down-to-earth manner; bodies are shot to pieces, burnt alive and blown up. This makes the story more linear as if it is real. In this regard too, the use of sound in Civil War is simply remarkable as there are long periods of absolute hush which create suspense but also demonstrate just how familiar with violence the characters are. By then silence turns into gunshots’ piercing noise and becomes as horrible and pulse-racing as any horror film employing war for jump scares. This is especially true when Jesse Plemons comes on stage with his character who uses his usual emotionless face to make a disturbing showstopper performance and presents the most tense scene from Civil War.

This happens alongside the fact that Civil War is being shown in IMAX theaters since this larger format truly captures the epic scale. The money spent on it by A24 Films has been said to be its highest ever and it certainly shows onscreen. It feels huge; with hundreds of extras, beautiful views of post-war America, and gigantic set-piece battles at the Lincoln Memorial giving this tale an air of summer blockbuster vibes. Smartly, news photography is integrated into film editing itself where still pictures taken by characters keep appearing during scenes of action therefore showing how stories become images while images tell parts of a much wider fabric.

Moreover, there’s little information about why everyone is fighting each other in the Civil War -– like one scene has two soldiers trapped by a sniper saying they’re just here until one kills the other regardless of reason or cause for fighting — because America has already forgotten that she was ever at peace in their struggle. Likewise when Garland shows what happens to small towns due to war such as passing through an obviously clueless town or having random militias kill people randomly – somehow reminding us of Fallout games that expand their world visually.


Civil War is a challenging, exciting, and heart-stopping film about the importance of journalism during wars, and how we can become indifferent to bloodshed while living in it. Through his writing and directing, Garland gives the story a visual style and epic summer blockbuster scale, but he stays focused on the characters’ journey and their experience of war.

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