Civil War review

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Movie: Civil War

Production Company: DNA Films

Director: Alex Garland

Producers: Gregory Goodman, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich

Scriptwriters: Alex Garland

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

Release Date: 12th April 2024

Running Time: 109 minutes

Certificate: 15

Introduction: Alex Garland’s boots on the ground, journalistic thriller is an emotionally unforgiving portrayal of war- echoing real life fears in the world.

Synopsis: A group of journalists travel across a war torn America to reach DC before a rebel army attacks the White House.

Analysis: It is a real shame to have read in the news that Alex Garland is no longer wanting to direct any more films due to the understandably stressful nature of the process… it is also rather convenient as ‘Civil War’ would have been very hard to top, as this is one of his best pieces of work to date. Garland’s latest depiction of a dystopian world is a bleak and merciless tale of the lack of humanity war brings out in us all, as well serving as a razor-sharp insight into looking behind the deceptive curtain of warfare. One of the many factors that blew me away was how the film uses cameras, lenses and photographs in some of the most chillingly effective ways I have ever seen in film. A brutal piece of filmmaking.

One of the cleverest yet most disturbing things ‘Civil War’ does so well is have the journalists treat their cameras as they’re very own ‘guns’ and ‘weapons’; becoming destructive in their own unique sense as well as an object they use in order to survive. Among the many sequences of breathtaking obliteration in the film, we see our central characters amongst the devastation of warfare; capturing as much death, violence and brutality as they possibly can. They risk their lives every single time but know they have to do it.

The worse the conditions and the more bloodshed there is, the better for them. Whilst battles are playing out in front of you and our protagonists manage to take a photo, the film pauses for a split second and shows you that photo in silence; this happens throughout the whole film. The film never lets you forget the toll on life war has and this serves as a constant and heartbreaking reminder. I must also say, I have never experienced a film with sound design this good; I lost count at the amount of times I leapt out of my skin at the sound of gunshots. The same can be said for when we see helicopters fly off into battle, I felt the rumble throughout my whole body; it was absolutely extraordinary. Try and see this as big and loud as you can.

If I found any faults with the film, some music choices during some moments felt very out of place. I understand the juxtaposition Garland was potentially going for, but it just did not sit well with me and, in fact, took me out of some very serious scenes that I was really invested in. There is also one sequence that you see in the trailer of someone leaping from one car to another which could have gone entirely as I felt there was absolutely no need for it. It is sad to hear that he no longer wishes to direct, but as long as he carries on writing, we will all be completely fine and in safe hands.

In cinemas Friday.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding

Target Audience: 15+

Content Warning: strong threat, bloody images, violence, language

Recommendation: Yes