Civil War: Kirsten Dunst And Cailee Spaeny Are Oscar-Worthy In Alex Garland’s Jaw-Dropping, Pulse-Racing Thriller


Have you ever watched news coverage of a devastating international conflict and thought, “I can’t imagine that ever happening here?” You no longer need to imagine. Using jaw-dropping production work, harrowing set design, and visceral war-ravaged camera operation, Alex Garland’s remarkable Civil War takes us on a white-kncukle road trip through a divided America, as a team of journalists race from tragedy to tragedy hoping to complete an assignment in Washington, D.C. before a modern war between the States reaches its bloody conclusion. It’s a tense, magnificent achievement, and a genuine conversation starter – which is how Garland wisely described the movie after it held its world premiere at the 2024 South By Southwest Film Festival. 

Garland’s no stranger to provocative, jarring works of fiction that beg the audience to read beneath the surface and analyze what they find. From his collaborations with Danny Boyle (The Beach, 28 Days Later, Sunshine) to his own directorial efforts (Ex Machina, Annihilation), Garland has imagined conflicted visions of the future that have been impacted by mankind’s follies. This one, as opposed to his science-fiction excursions, feels disturbingly modern. Though the time frame is never given, Civil War easily could take place 10 years into our future. Five years, even. 

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