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MOVIE REVIEW: A Brutal Look at a Divided Future: Alex Garland's Civil War

A frightening imagining of a Civil War among the states that could happen in the very near future, this movie stars Kirsten Dunst and is written and directed by Alex Garland.

Courtesy A24

This disturbing and challenging film about a dystopian future stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, and Stephen McKinley Henderson.

Garland cleverly sidesteps real-world political labels, focusing instead on the human cost of ideological division. The film paints a chilling picture of a future where regional alliances shift and violence becomes commonplace. Dunst is joined by a stellar cast, including Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson, each portraying journalists grappling with the ethical complexities of their profession.

This group of photojournalists travels through a few different states to get to Washington DC. on a quest to interview the President. This movie highlights the importance photojournalism plays in these conflicts, but it also criticizes photojournalists as well. Sometimes photojournalists giving certain groups of broader voice can make a situation worse.

One important storyline is the transition between the experienced journalist and the new one, and the challenge of suffering through the horrors of what they see.

In addition to the broader Civil War there are certain factions in the United States that are fighting their own war. The travelers come across these groups. The most compelling scene in the whole movie is when the group comes across some soldiers led by Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst's real life husband, doing something they really shouldn't.

The end sequences of the battle in Washington DC are a bit upsetting. They should be.

Civil War is a powerful and thought-provoking film. It's a stark reminder of the fragile nature of national unity and the consequences of unchecked political polarization. Dunst delivers a captivating performance, and the supporting cast adds depth and nuance to the narrative.

The powerful story I feel that this movie is trying to convey is how very real this possibility is. Something like this could actually happen. While disturbing, I found it well worth watching.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars


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