Film Fanatics: ‘Civil War’ divides fans

Kirsten Dunst’s character will go to any lengths possible for the perfect picture. Photo courtesy of Slate


“Film Fanatics” focuses on the latest and greatest cinema has to offer. Ranging from the newest movies in theaters to familiar favorites, enjoy thoughtful reviews that inspire further reflection or several rewatches. Read on to discover a new favorite film

“Every time I survived a war zone, I thought I was sending a message — don’t do this,” Lee Smith states in “Civil War”. “But here we are.” 

Alex Garland’s newest movie “Civil War” transports audiences to the front line, forcing them to viscerally experience being in an active war zone. This movie will trigger audiences’ fight-or-flight and act as a warning for the growing political divide in this country. 

“Civil War” follows seasoned yet jaded war photographer Lee Smith — portrayed by Kirsten Dunst — and carefree reporter Joel — portrayed by Wagner Moura — as they travel from New York City to Washington D.C. in hopes of photographing and interviewing the President — portrayed by Nick Offerman. Accompanied by young aspiring photojournalist Jessie — portrayed by Cailee Spaeny — and old sport Sammy — portrayed by Stephen McKinley Henderson — the team experiences firsthand the brutal atrocities of the civil war ravaging the nation. 

Jam-packed with career-defining performances, the acting in “Civil War” is top-notch. Spaeny’s performance as Jessie has solidified her role in Hollywood stardom, and audiences should expect to see her everywhere. While he only has five minutes of screen time, Jesse Plemons’ unnamed deranged soldier steals the show. Finally, Dunst delivers as always as the story’s catalyst, cementing her as one of the greats in Hollywood. 

While audiences expected a movie that would incessantly push political propaganda, “Civil War” remains entirely neutral. Director Alex Garland wanted audiences to understand this movie is anti-war, not anti-progressive or anti-conservative. 

However, some movie fans are not pleased with Garland’s approach to this sensitive topic, believing that there should have been a clear side or winner. While the movie has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics, audiences slammed the movie on Google reviews, with more one-star reviews than five-star. 

Many of the one-star ratings complain about the movie’s lack of detail as “Civil War” never explains the true reasoning for the catalyst of the titular civil war. Additionally, they believe that the journalists in the movie are too self-centered

However, Garland’s intention was to present journalists as the heroes in the narrative rather than demonizing them. By presenting the unbiased journalists as the protagonists, Garland furthers his apolitical stance. The journalists never explicitly state who they are employed by. They simply go where the story is, not a particular political side. 

Garland’s choice to emphasize the importance of journalists is the reason other movie lovers adore this movie. Many believe that it accurately portrays the battle over modern-day journalism. “Civil War” transforms simple journalists into soldiers. Lee and Jessie will do anything to get the “perfect shot,” prioritizing the result over the people around them. Garland emphasizes the thinning line between observing the action and being a part of it. 

Journalists are not sure if this movie truly enhances the representation of journalists, but they are optimistic that “Civil War” will help the public see journalism as a serious, striving career rather than the current dying industry. 

As divisive as the movie is, audiences cannot deny the spectacle of it all. Even in a world of CGI fatigue, “Civil War” manages to create a grounded story with an elegant backdrop of realistic CGI. The CGI is not at the forefront of the story but adds immersive imagery as the team travels through the war zones. 

“Civil War” is A24’s highest-budget movie at $50 million. It already grossed $25.7 million in its opening weekend, beating the indie studio’s previous record of $13.6 million set by “Hereditary”. Therefore, “Civil War” is redefining the studio, marking its shift from indie to potentially a blockbuster contender. 

“Civil War” is not for the faint of heart, depicting emotional, brutal images of war. However, this is a necessary movie that acts as a series of war pictures begging America to realize the errors of their ways before this piece of fiction becomes reality. 

“Civil War” is currently out in theaters and will be streaming soon on Max


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