Civil war: Thought-provoking look at America at war with itself

BD civil war

Civil War stands as A24's most expensive movie with a budget of $50 million.

Photo credit: File | Pool

When you think of war, one typically thinks, the jungle, Vietnam, South America, or the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq. Rarely does one consider locations like their favourite spot in town or the office block in the middle of the city centre. However, Civil War, directed by Alex Garland, explores precisely that concept, bringing war home.

Civil war

Civil War is a dystopian war film written and directed by Alex Garland. It stars Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Sonoya Mizuno, and Nick Offerman.

Released in 2024, Civil War stands as A24's most expensive movie with a budget of $50 million.


The film follows a group of journalists on a journey across a dystopian future America. Racing against time, they strive to reach Washington D.C. before rebel factions seize control of the White House.

What worked

I would imagine this is a hard movie to watch for Americans because of the well-thought-through premise. The story follows journalists as they move from New York to Washington, and through that road trip, you get to see the impact of conflict, something that at times is hard to watch.

This is a very well-shot film; the cinematography, with its wide shots, does a good job showing us what we are familiar with, contrasting it with the conflict taking place. The action sequences during the third act I have to say are visually well-composed.

Speaking of the third act, it is the last 40 minutes that gave me what I came to see. Yes, you have the drama between the journalists and some genuinely intense moments. But, that third act offers some of the most interesting takes on war that I have seen in a very long time. Just for that third act, I would suggest seeing it on the biggest screen possible.

The sound design adds to the overall experience; it is much more pronounced than you would expect. I mean, the gunshots and explosions lingered in my mind even after the movie was done.

Another aspect I liked about this movie was the fact that the story has major consequences and repercussions, some of which most will not see coming.

The movie also does a good job of avoiding what might have been the root cause of the conflict, staying away from the current political climate in the US, especially during an election year.

The performances are commendable for the most part. There is a character played by Jesse Plemons who I thought was the perfect embodiment of racism, with a really unsettling characterisation.


Having a photojournalist as the central character was a good idea, but they don't do anything unique with it. All the characters fall into tropes that we are all familiar with. I also thought that they didn't really delve deeper into the concept and give us a full scope of how the whole country might have been reacting to what was happening. This felt more like a road trip with a few dramatic stops with war lingering in the background.

Is it worth your time?

As with most A24 movies, this is perhaps the most thought-provoking movie of the year. While it doesn't do anything special with the story, it's a film worth the cinema ticket for its great visuals, sound, and that intense third act. For journalists and war movie fans, this would make for an interesting viewing because of its unique premise and core idea.

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