Civil War (2024)

The torch of the Statue of Liberty is shown in close up, surrounded by sandbags and occupied by troops with combat gear and guns.
Cover art for the 2024 movie Civil War, directed by Alex Garland.
About the movie
  • Director: Alex Garland
  • Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny
  • Yes or no?: Yes
  • Links: on Letterboxd, IMDb page
Other reviews:

Just some quick thoughts (spoilers, for sure):

  • I read that this lacked proper political context. I’m not sure I agree. It’s subtle, which may be the complaint—that it’s not explicit in who is actually the problem that led to this—but it’s there. Nick Offerman is Trump in all ways. Right down to exactly how we all see it going if this were to really happen. The woman leading the military unit (I believe they called her “Sarge”), who is Black, that goes into the White House, when asked if they were Western Front, says “What do you fucking think?” She reacted like she thought she was being asked if the unit of Black soldiers was fighting for the North or the South.
  • The performances were awesome. Kirsten Dunst as Lee is so tired and beat up and traumatized. She’s perfect. Wagner Moura is really good. Although, while he rules in this movie, I’m not sure what his character actually does as a writer. We certainly don’t see it. But he does get his quote.
  • America is a pretty gorgeous place. They do an excellent job showing that, even among the destruction.
  • The camera shots when we’re getting Lee’s perspective (or maybe it’s for some other reason) all have a focus blur with chromatic aberration. Is that a signal that she’s unwell leading to the final moments?
  • This has a very (although not quite) Come and See moment, which made me immediately think that the movie was perhaps meant to be a modern take on it. Then I looked up Alex Garland and on his IMDB page, the first of his favorite movies listed is Come and See.
  • This piece is really good about Garland. It goes into the politics of the movie, but focuses on what Garland chooses to show us and why.
  • The journalism. I have also seen posts that say this says more about the field than it does about politics, and that’s correct. The journalists (and I have no idea how realistic their portrayal was) are essentially babysat through the worst of the fighting, they appear cold, and in fact teach coldness to their colleagues, and thrive off of the rush that comes from a war. That’s not a great depiction.