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'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

“Civil War” is one of the decade’s most important films

“Civil War” lays out non-partial representation of the projected decline of humanity
A24’s newest film “Civil War” depicts a war-torn America in the not-so-distant future. (Photo Courtesy of Dark Horizons)

“Civil War” was the most memorable viewing experience that I have had in recent memory. The film was not only visually stunning, but simultaneously absolutely terrifying. Alex Garland, writer and director of an impressive slate of sci-fi action flicks, including “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation,” dives into unfamiliar territory in his newest feature “Civil War.” 

The film stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny and Stephen McKinley Henderson as four journalists who embark on a deadly road trip to war-torn Washington, D.C. to interview the president of the United States before his inevitable surrender to the fictional groups, the Western Force Alliance of Texas and California. Although the plot may seem bizarre at first glance, the divisiveness of today’s America presents “Civil War’s” premise as a grim look into a not-so-distant future. 

“Civil War” takes a unique approach to telling the story of America’s downfall, as it is through the impartial perspective of the four journalists that we see the war crimes of not only the authoritarian United States and Western Force’s military but also the sick and twisted rogue civilians who take matters into their own hands. In my opinion, it is not the government’s acts of violence that are the most sickening, but that of the civilians who mercilessly take over their rural towns. 

Because journalists are just meant to present the hard facts of a situation, “Civil War” does the same by refusing to depict any side as the “heroes” of this war, but instead provides a warning as to what America can become if we continue to lose our humanity. Although the film does a fantastic job of capturing the physical and psychological horrors of civilian-on-civilian violence,  it loses itself in the third act during the siege of Washington, D.C. 

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Don’t get me wrong, the tanks plummeting through barricades of abandoned cars, explosions of historic monuments and helicopters flying through abandoned streets are visually spectacular; however, these moments detach themselves from the personal core of the film. Although I was slightly disappointed by this narrative decision, the last five minutes of the film were fantastic. I have never left a movie theater feeling as speechless and numb as I did leaving “Civil War.”

Of course, the film could have never been as emotionally gut-wrenching without the immensely talented cast. “Civil War’s” standout performances are Spaeny as Jesse, a young aspiring photojournalist whose idol is Dunst’s character Lee Smith. Their relationship blossoms as Smith increasingly sees her younger self in the ambitious yet naive Jesse. In this sense, the film does not revolve around the plot but the character’s development, which is something that I always prefer in my movie-watching experience.

Dunst and Spaeny’s on-screen relationship is mesmerizing says staff writer Ally Werstler. (Photo Courtesy of IndieWire)

So, is “Civil War” perfect? No. But it’s still one of the best movies I have seen in the past decade. 

I had high expectations going into “Civil War,” as it was one of my most anticipated films of the year, and it’s safe to say that I was not disappointed by the final product. If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing this movie in IMAX, as the sound and picture elevate the viewing experience immensely. IMAX also takes the horrific imagery to another level and easily makes “Civil War” one of the scariest pictures that I ever witnessed. If you want to support original filmmaking and see a movie that will leave you with an everlasting impact, see Garland’s “Civil War” on the big screen. I promise you, it’s unlike anything you have or will ever see.

Final Score: 9.5/10

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  • S

    SApr 26, 2024 at 2:18 pm

    Not very Pro Humanitate…