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  • Hamish Hart

Civil War (2024) Review

RATING: 7.5/10

GLOBAL politics is, and always will be, a controversial topic of discussion. Making an entire film based around what could happen in the very near future is an even more controversial endeavour, and if there were ever a collaboration willing to take it head on, it would be director Alex Garland and award-winning production company A24.

Set in dystopian-future America, a team of war journalists are attempting to travel to the White House in order to get a quote from the President (Nick Offerman). But in order to obtain an interview with him, Lee (Kirsten Dunst) and her new apprentice Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) must get to Washington first as various rebel factions have made their intentions of wanting to kidnap the President clear.

Given the synopsis alone, Civil War has received mixed criticism from casual and critical audiences alike, critiquing Garland's political war thriller for being a flagrant statement of the present political landscape and what it may soon become. And those critiques, while accurate, aren't necessarily indicative of the film's quality. Right from the get-go, the film opens up with the President during a State of the Union Address as he explains the devastating state that his country due to people who have come together to form various rebel factions in order to begin their takeover of the United States; an idea argumentatively inspired by the real events which took place on January 6, 2021. Much of Civil War's controversy is formed from this signature plot point for obvious reasons, but those who can put their own political views to one side for less than two hours will unearth one of Alex Garland's most engaging and breath-taking projects to date.

Kirsten Dunst leads an all-star cast in A24's latest thriller, playing the role of an experienced war journalist set on chasing her biggest story to date. Dunst is one of the many highlights in this film, capturing the feeling of an over-obsessive personality near-perfectly as she constantly puts her job before her own safety. Despite her constant fixation, her young co-star Cailee Spaeny also does a wonderful job as Lee's understudy, playing off Kirsten in all the right ways, and in some parts, managing to outshine the more-experienced Dunst; no easy feat for any actor let alone for one of Spaeny's age. And on the topic of Dunst, her real-life husband Jesse Plemons also makes a small appearance in one of the film's most gripping scenes, questioning the journalist's true intentions all while sporting camo-gear and red sunglasses; a stroke of genius on the costume department's side.

Alex Garland and A24 have come together to create one of the most controversial (and necessary) films in recent times. Excellent performances, a blunt, unafraid script, along with scenes which never overstay their welcome, make Civil War an eye-opening, controversial look in the future of the world's political landscape. And despite what people may say about the necessity of a film like this, just don't go and replicate the events which take place in Civil War - there is a reason why most movies are about fictional events.


About Me

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Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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