#SheReviews Civil War Movie – Ruth Greening

April 11, 2024

Civil War movie is a must-see film even though we all found this Brisbane preview screening disturbing and convincingly confronting. 

The movie’s focus is not on the civil war itself but on the plight and obsession of four ambitious journalists determined to be immersed in the action, at any cost,  for that perfect shot. I found their pursuit self-centred and wondered if this happens in true life. They were willing to put others at risk even if it meant the death of colleagues. 

Nonetheless, the concept of a civil war in true life played on our minds. 

Set in a future United States it made me think these circumstances are not that futuristic but rather a little too scaringly close to the here and now. 

Particularly since January 6, 2021 when more than 2,000 rioters stormed the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. It was when the then  US President Donald Trump was defeated in the 2020 Presidential election. How can we forget? Many vandalized, looted and assaulted police officers and reporters in an attempt to capture and harm lawmakers. They sought to keep Trump in power and attacked the iconic building to prevent the formalized counting of votes and victory from the President-elect, Joe Biden. The attack was ultimately unsuccessful but within 36 hours people died and hundreds were injured. 

 This film made a big impact on us. At the end of the movie, my friends and I turned to each other and said wow this could happen in true life. Great cinematography that took the audience into the war zones capturing the close encounters and horrifying moments. 

It has been a while since seeing actor Kirsten Dunst on screen. She was fabulous in her role as Mary Jane, an experienced and famous war correspondent known for her tendency to be in the thick of it constantly risking her life. But decades of exposure and her vast encounters had worn her thin, a smile on her face a rare treat.  

Civil War does more than a hint at potential conflicts.  It could be real, potentially ahead of us in the future. Maybe this is the message writer/director Alex Garland intended. If so heaven help us.  If you like action, war drama and powerful storytelling, this film is for you. 

The Story

A futuristic USA where civil war has broken out and America is not what it once was.  It is a war in an already devastated country where California and Texas have joined forces against a dictatorial president who has gained a third term in office and disbanded the FBI.

Alex Garland sent us on a journey immersing the audience in a frightening ride from a war correspondent/journalistic perspective. 

 The journalists travel from New York to Washington their objectives are essentially similar. To capture the perfect shot (without being shot) and to interview the President before the rebel factions descended on the White House to kill him.  

Their travels are not without dire hiccups as events unfold along the way. Still, the desperate need to capture that storytelling picture in the gravest of circumstances never left them.  

They were up close and personal glowing in euphoric adrenaline as they walked in the soldiers’ footsteps photographing every action and emotional moment while bullets hissed over their heads, and loud explosions erupted within metres from where they lurked. They chose to follow a perilous path with too many close encounters in a deathly environment.  

Cast and Crew

Writer/Director: Alex Garland

Producers:  Andrew Macdonald; Allon Reich; Gregory Goodman

Cinematography: Rob Hardy

Main Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, and Cailee Spaeny

Released in Australian cinemas on 11 April 

#RoadshowFilms @roadshow #SheSocietyAU #civilwarmovie 

References: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_6_United_States_Capitol_attack