Kirsten Dunst in A24's 'Civil War'

Alex Garland’s action epic, Civil War, dominated the box office with a $25.7 million debut. 


‘Civil War’ Review

Images and pictures shape our lives. Photos of the Saigon Execution and the picture taken where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel among a bevy of others changed the course of history.

Words can convey messages but when coupled with vivid snapshots, the story is undeniably authentic at its rawest essence.

When you watch the news and see reports of international wars or local riots, do you ever wonder about the men and women capturing those shots? You should.

Photojournalists are the lifeblood of storytelling. They risk their lives in the heat of battle, taking pictures so you, the viewer, are able to see whatever situation it may be from all sides and make a clear, educated decision.

In the new movie, “Civil War”, there’s a war going on outside no one is safe from with four photojournalists caught in the middle while trying to survive, all in the name of truth.

Is this film out of focus, or picture-perfect? Let’s go!

What you think all the guns is for? All-purpose war, got the Rottweilers by the door!

Civil War” stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Cailee Spaeny.

It is directed by Alex Garland and is distributed by my favorite film company, A24.

So, lemme say this right out the gate so you’ll have an understanding; this film is not what you think it is, ok?

Sure, the trailer you’ve seen and the name of the movie “Civil War” will lead you to believe that it’s all about the fractioning of America resulting in a 109-minute epic war story.

Uuuuh…no. This flick chronicles four photojournalists – Lee, Joel, Sammy, Jessie – and their trip from New York to Washington, D.C. to try to speak to the President about the demise of the United States of America AND the civil war that’s occurring.

Now that you know the premise, I shall continue. “Civil War” is magnificent!

No political party is the antagonist or protagonist. As a matter of fact, political parties are never mentioned or insinuated so there is no need for audience division.

A24 wants its money and isn’t trying to contribute in any way to the combustible climate we’re in now and I over-stand.

Lee, played by Dunst, is a veteran photojournalist who is pretty much burned out at this point in her career.

Jessie, the inexperienced young talent (Spaeny) tags along for the ride and the two begin to form a bond.

Joel (Moura), the adrenaline junkie and O.G. journalist Sammy (Henderson) all pile in the SUV taking pics along the way.

But they soon realize that a camera isn’t the only thing they’ll need that shoots. 

“Civil War” doesn’t need a political agenda plot to cause tension.

That road trip, my friends, is all the tension you need!

Cinematography excels in this film by showing us what the results of a nation at war with itself looks like.

Highways with abandoned vehicles, military checkpoints, blown-up helicopters in mall parking lots, dilapidated buildings, football fields substituting as schools, maaaaan listen.

I could go on and on but this new America lies in ruin. However, the visuals are astounding.

In contrast, Garland also shows communities completely unaffected by the war.

It reminds you of those Drug-Free School Zones in the middle of chaos, or in this case, War-Free Zones.

While the camera work and locations paint an electrifying portrait, the different scenes, and sound effects overthrow your emotions like a coup d’etat.

On everything I love, this film’s mission succeeds in raising your blood pressure!

Graphic, detailed scenes involving shootings, battles, prisoners, and casualties of war are the likes of which you have NEVER seen.

One such scene involves actor Jessie Plemons.

My God, it is one of the most disturbing scenarios you’ll ever witness.

You are not ready.

The sounds of the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air make you feel like you’re there in the action about to catch strays.

It’s that nerve-wracking, y’all.

Get your sertraline and paroxetine prescriptions filled because you’re gonna need ‘em.

The 3rd act of “Civil War” goes super hard! In true photojournalist fashion, Garland shoots this so vividly in a no-holds-barred way with action and tension turned up to 100.

This final act competes for all of your emotions even when the credits roll.

What isn’t mentioned, and what you may have an issue with, is the “How” of the film.

How America got to this point isn’t discussed, but it was purposefully omitted and I believe that was a smart thing to do. Let the audience’s imagination run wild.

Xaviera told me I’d need a drink after watching this and I laughed it off.

Uh ruh, after watching it, I sat in my car for a good ten minutes trying to decompress.

I’m co-signing “Civil War” to the fullest!

It’s alarming enough to see on a regular format, but deadly in IMAX.

The next time you watch the news or read about an event online, pay attention to the images and say a prayer for those brave souls.

A picture is worth a thousand words. So is this movie. 

Watch The Trailer

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