World Travel
New Original Fiction
Books & Movies

Film Space
Movies in depth
Dreamscapes Two
More Fiction
Lifestyles Archive
Politics & Living
Sam Hawksmoor
New fiction


25 Years Online
••• The International Writers Magazine -

Civil War – written and directed by Alex Garland
• Sam North review
Starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Nelson Lee, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson

Civil War

There has been much written about this movie already and I am very happy to see it is still number one at the movie theatres after three weeks. That’s proof enough it is drawing an audience from both sides of the political divide. And America is very divided and quite possibly on the cusp of MTG’s ‘National Divorce’.

I was lucky enough to see this in the wonderful Tuschinski Cinema in Amsterdam. (First opened in 1921 and still has the Opera boxes and Tiffany lamps – amazing).

I was worried that this would be a gung-ho hero driven movie with some kind of Proud Boy character stringing up Democrats on primetime TV. Alex Garland took a much more nuanced approach. Low key, gently taking into this war that we all know is coming as soon as next January.

We glimpse a Trump like character in the White House clinging on to power in his Third Term of office, but the rest of the movie is about following a team of journalists and war photographers as they make their way to Washington DC to interview the so-called President as the rebels close in.  The team is led by Kirsten Dunst playing Lee, War Photographer. She gives the whole movie the gravitas it needs. War weary, tormented by nightmares of wars she has witnessed overseas and wearily resigned to covering a war in her own country. They are joined by Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) a war photographer wannabe and seeks to hero worship Lee but also supplant her. They are joined by Joel (Wagner Moura) a journalist, Sammy from the NY Times, played by Stephen McKinley Henderson who adds wisdom and cynicism to the party and later by Tony (Nelson Lee) a Hong Kong Cameraman. They drive into rebel territory and observe.

At first Garland leads us gently into this world. Tracer bullets light up the sky at night, having to pay with Canadian money to get gas. New people run things now, they see everything in black and white terms and care nothing for human rights. It’s Civil War. There are no rights, no laws. This is the dystopia we all dread. As we adjust the pace increases, the body count too.

This is subtle filmmaking. The surprise on discovering they are in a small town that has decided to stay out of the war is a wonderful moment. Kirsten Dunst is superb as Lee and indeed you believe in all of them as they try to hang on to their sanity.

The final thirty minutes of the film is truly astonishing, not just in what happens but the cinemaphotography, the high emotional tension keeps you riveted in place.

 I keep telling people to go see this movie so they will be more prepared for the inevitable, it’s a rehearsal for what’s coming. It is certainly the best film I have seen in at least four years.  Don’t wait for it to come on TV.  Go see it on the big screen. (Trailer here)
© Sam North April 27th 2024
author of 'Another Place to Die: The Endtime Chronicles'

More film

Share |


© Hackwriters 1999-2024 all rights reserved - all comments are the individual writer's own responsibility -
no liability accepted by or affiliates.