Civil War: Society’s Cautionary Tale

Civil War

Civil War is finally here. Is it worth watching even if it’s not what we expected? 

According to what the trailer led us to believe (at least to me personally), Civil War is a film that comes close to our reality after January 6th and our current situation surrounding this year’s elections. We’re getting used to satirizing about our society and current affairs with the rest of the world. At some point, I thought tensions would rise in theaters. And maybe it’s happening, but likely not. 

Civil War is more a road trip thriller than an action-packed war film. It revolves around a group of journalists on their way from NYC to Washington D.C. During their journey, they stumble upon war zones, both protected and invaded small towns and horrible people terrorizing anyone who comes across them. We witness everything through the perspectives of three journalists who are desensitized of any humanity in them and a younger girl (Cailee Spaeny) who wants to follow the photojournalist Lee’s (Kirsten Dunst) footsteps. 

The Great Acting

Property of A24

Alex Garland does a great job creating this close-to-home, gripping imagery of a country divided at war. The tension never stops except in probably two or three scenes in which we can catch our breath as the audience. Everyone in the cast made it possible. As well as Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, and Stephen Henderson are excellent as their characters. They’re a compelling group of characters. 

However, Jesse Plemons steals the screen for the few minutes he’s there in that scene teased in the trailer. One that will escalate into disturbing proportions and the one that’s closest to our reality as a divided country. If there’s something the movie delivered, it’s the uneasiness of the country at war. That’s the conclusion of an intense second act before an eventful and heart-pounding third act that comes closer to what we imagined. 

What is Civil War

Rather than romanticizing war with big explosions, colorful smoke, and “loving the smell of napalm in the morning” from Apocalypse Now, the visuals are closer to the stunning cinematography juxtaposed with humanity’s ugly side from Come and See. It was a gorgeous spectacle of shootings and destruction at night. This film cements the successful collaboration of Alex Garland and Rob Hardy.

Civil War may not be what we expected. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad or mediocre movie. It’s an emotionally stimulating film that doesn’t necessarily take any sides of the political spectrum. This is a story about human nature and mortality, and the origins of the civil war are inconsequential.

It’s a warning about the horrors of war for everyone, one that shows us the impending doom of our country if we keep ourselves separated. Society’s cautionary tale.  

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