Monday, May 27, 2024

Civil War: why Alex Garland’s film is turning stomachs with its controversial US political divide plot

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Alex Garland‘s latest film, Civil War, has ignited a firestorm of political debate. The visionary director, known for mind-bending films like Ex Machina and Annihilation, didn’t hesitate to present a near-future America plunged into chaos. This time, however, the battleground isn’t a dystopian future or a technological singularity; it’s the terrifyingly familiar territory of the current political climate in the United States. Surely, it’s the year’s most controversial film so far – and what’s more interesting is the polarised response.

Alex Garland’s film ‘Civil War’ sparks intense political debate as it portrays a near-future America in chaos, reflecting current social divisions. (Pic credit-A24 via X)

Civil War review

Garland’s unflinching depiction of the nation’s deep-rooted social divisions leaves viewers gasping for air. Is Civil War simply an honest portrayal of reality, or does Garland use his signature style to reveal the true dangers of a nation on the brink?

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Before watching the film, please consider that it contains multiple deaths. The film is set in the future of the USA, in which a civil war has broken out, causing various states to be divided into factions. One of the most memorable scenes takes place in Washington DC, where rebellious states clash with the authoritarian government. Helicopters buzz overhead, explosions rock iconic landmarks, and everything is in turmoil. However, the real story lies within the role of journalists as witnesses to the conflict.

Alex Garland’s Civil War story

Meet the main characters of the film: Lee (played by Kirsten Dunst), a renowned photojournalist navigating the war-torn country alongside Joel (played by Wagner Moura) in pursuit of an interview with the president. “There is something in the film which is trying to be protective of [journalists],” Says Garland to the Guardian. . “I think serious journalism needs protecting because it’s under attack, so I wanted to make those people ‘heroes’ to put them front and centre.” He added.

The setting is a country where the FBI has been disbanded and the military targets civilians. Sammy (played by Stephen McKinley Henderson), a veteran journalist, and Jessie (played by Cailee Spaney), a newcomer, traverse the war-torn nation, encountering grim realities such as public hangings and ambiguous combatants.

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“It’s a film about the product of polarisation and division,” Garland told CBS. “Unless we come to our senses, our polarised, divisive, non-communicative state is going to continue.” He added to one of the many statements.

Civil War public reactions

The film was released in the United States on April 12th, 2024, and we have to say that it has earned rave reviews and some pretty nasty jabs along the way. The film’s creators insist that it’s a “non-judgmental” film, but the reactions to it show the deep-rooted divisions in our society that Garland is trying to expose.

“Alex Garland’s #CivilWar is unnerving, intense and brutally honest. It’s not the movie you probably think it is & it benefits from that. The world building is simple, but feels so effectively real.” A user shared their experience on X. On the contrary, another wrote, “It is absolutely bonkers watching a shit movie like civil war and reading positive reviews/tweets while the mainstream American news ignores the hundreds of journalists being killed in Gaza over the last six months.”

While some think, it “takes a horrifyingly visceral look through the lens of a war photojournalist’s camera in a dystopian world – neither picking a side, but simply relaying images for us to process. It’s unsettling, haunting, and nerve-shredding, with Dunst and Spaeny the standouts.” It’s no shocker that we also have to go through comments such as, “A torturous, overrated movie without a point.” and “CIVIL WAR takes little to no stance on our political atmosphere, what are we trying to get at with reviews like this? I am genuinely asking.”

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