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  • Writer's pictureJohn Delia Sr


Review by John Delia, Sr.

Civil war poster

The movie Civil War is very violent and holds nothing back. But is it realistic enough? While the production is excellent with very convincing up in your face chaos, the storyline may tend to bother those who want to know more of the facts as to why, when, where and how the story plays out. Like who are the bad guys here and what was it that caused the uprising?

Planting themselves in the midst of the violent uprising taking place in the United States of America are a press crew of 3 reporters, Lee (Kirsten Dunst), Joel (Wagner Moura), and Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson). They are actually correspondents covering the war mostly with hand held cameras, no guns and only communicating with each other head to head.

Jessie (Caliee Spaeny) is taking photos of the riots in New York and comes upon the 3 Press writers. The college grad is looking for thrills and a chance to prove herself. Her free spirited ways however, makes going dangerous as she takes wild chances in the crowded streets. She’s the odd one out in all this chaos, but her determination to succeed will not hold her back. Using her father’s black and white antique negative type camera, she is totally out of place and looking more like a tourist than a war correspondent.

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Following a terrorist bombing in New York City where Lee saves young Jesse from

certain death, the three press correspondents get a tip that Washington DC has been surrounded by several military units from seceded states. The military’s goal is to take out the President to end the war. The three agree to take a press car and make a bead to the Capitol. Jesse begs them to take her along and Lee nods her approval.

Jumping in a press vehicle driven by Joel, the group takes a chance to try and get

embedded with one of the military units before the attack. It’s a long road to get through all the chaos and massive road blocks, but the war correspondents are determined to get to DC. Writer and Director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) uses his skills to bring fear and violence to screen in a big way. The exciting cinematography, realistic sound of the conflicts and depiction of massive destruction give the film the realism of being there while it is all happening.

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Do I think the film will change people’s attitudes about the future of America? Maybe not as the probability of things that are happening in the film are not likely. The conflict shows the US Army with enough air fire power to knock out any invading enemy including their own civilians. And as far as the Press goes, embedding within the military in DC appears impossible especially with Jessie (played by Caliee Spaeny who is miscast) floating within the war zone creating many missteps.

The performances by Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, and Stephen McKinley Henderson are very good. Especially Moura who has to work the press team in and out of harm’s way. Dunst plays a level headed leader who fights off depression while she plows through danger. Henderson is the reasonable one of the four who has enough experiences under his belt to predict when danger is afoot. But, Director Garland has a lot up his sleeve and pulls the Jesse Plemons card out to create one of the most frightening scenes in the film.

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Civil War has been rated R for strong violent content, bloody/disturbing images, and language throughout. Please take notice when deciding to bring immature members of your family to see the film. If you like movies that lean toward fantasy, like The Day After Tomorrow, The Road, Independence Day, Armageddon, Mad Max or Children of Men, then run to see Civil War. (7 out of 10 stars). If you do go to see the film, watch it in IMAX or Dolby Cinema to capture all the thrills.

Additional Film Information:

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Nelson Lee, Caliee Spaeny, Jesse Plemons

Directed and written by: Alex Garland

Genre: War, Action, Horror

MPAA Rating: R for strong violent content, bloody/disturbing images, and language throughout

Running Time: 1 hr. 49 min

Opening Date: April 12, 2024

Distributed by: A24 Films

Released in: IMAX, Dolby Cinema, Theaters



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