Civil War: The BRWC Review

Civil War: The BRWC Review

Civil War: The BRWC Review. By Simon Lalji.

Director Alex Garland almost effortlessly crafts what can only be described as the most harrowing road trip movie ever put to screen. Civil War follows war photographers Lee, Jessie and Joel as they embark on a horrifying journey throughout a war torn ‘America’ or so it used to be. 

If there’s one thing Garland knows how to do, it’s how to build a tension filled, gripping and absolutely shocking scene. Civil war is certainly not for the faint of heart as its choice of having the protagonists be war photographers almost desensitizes audiences to what should be a vile, gut wrenching and downright disgusting yet accurate depiction of war. However, the movie instead takes the unique approach of reducing this carnage into what the characters see as everyday life. Garland’s creative decision to centralise the story on a group of War photographers could be called a genius commentary on the current state of America, as the film doesn’t preach to viewers to say what side of this war you should be on like most other war films.



Garland instead encourages the viewer to form their own opinion as the photographers simply take the shot and let the world see all the carnage taking place, never expressing the right side to be on but always leaving events up to interpretation. Nick Offerman’s president perfectly encapsulates this as whether he’s supposed to represent a warning for the future of America through certain men such as Donald Trump or not, Garland withholds such information as to who started this war but only presents the unbiased view of a photographer sharing the truth with the world through an image. Regardless, Civil war is bound to start political unrest amongst the current world which was undoubtedly Garland’s intention as the film itself purposefully stays away from political views but has clear messages about the state of the modern world. 

Speaking of Photographers, all three of them, especially Kirsten Dunst and Cailee Spaeny embody every scene they are in as Dunst’s older and grizzled photographer vs Spaeny’s young and naive photographer create the foundation of the film as without their relationship the films consistent tension filled scenes and gut wrenching ending would not truly be felt, thankfully both actors brought their all. With Cailee Spaeny’s rising star power and her leading the highly anticipated Alien: Romulus, it’s safe to say she has a bright future ahead of her in Hollywood. However, the stand out of the film is by far Jesse Plemons. With less than five minutes of screen time Plemons delivers what can only be described as one of the most shocking, terrifying and traumatic scenes of the year, embodying a performance that will haunt viewers long after initially watching the film, especially the highly marketed line “What kind of American are you?” Cementing not only one of the greatest lines of all time but also certifying Plemons as one of the greatest and most overlooked actors of all time.

Suffice to say, Alex Garland perfectly conjures the horrific atmosphere of war, whether it’s the incredible set design or beautifully shot cinematography. However, the clear standout of the film’s technicality is its simply overwhelming sound design, with a gunshot firing what feels like every second. Though this sometimes makes dialogue inaudible it effectively immerses the viewer in an anxiety filled war of betrayal, carnage and suffering. With this being said it cannot be understated that Civil War flawlessly lends itself to the IMAX experience as the film itself was shot for IMAX it crafts the perfect way to manifest the shattering and breathtaking experience of Civil war, making every bullet feel like a true moment of shock and horror.

Overall, Civil War is a must watch for film fans with every moment gripping audiences to their seats. With Garland’s recent comments about abandoning filmmaking cinema will no doubt be losing an icon of a director who crafts a film of which everyone involved should be proud of.

4.5/5 stars.


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