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Civil War

Rowdy Reddy Piper

Don't Bother Runnin'...
5 Year Member
I went and saw this movie last night. It was a head scratcher for me, and not sure if I liked it or not.

I mean, I really wanted to like it. I really wanted to love it. Alex Garland wrote and directed it, and I've liked and loved several of his other movies. Like: Annihilation; loved: 28 Days Later, Ex Machina; and Dredd is a top five all-time favorite of mine. And the setting for Civil War was right up my alley: near-future dystopian America, battling itself. Love this idea (for a movie).

The whole movie, we are following a group of journalists who are trying to get from NYC to Washington DC to interview the president. The interesting thing about this movie.... (possible minor spoilers ahead, so they're protected)

The president talks about re-unifying the nation and how close the government is to victory over the secessionists (Western Front, WF). This is the message the government is pushing.

However, early on into the movie, the gang finds out from two embedded journos that the WF is established in West Virginia, and about 3-4 days from toppling Washington DC. The gang hurriedly heads toward DC because they want to interview the president prior to the attack. They encounter various forces along the way. And that's pretty much it.

The movie was ok, but I found myself struggling to care about the main character Leigh. She was supposed to be this battle-hardened war photographer, but she really just comes off more as a bitch than anything else. Kirsten Dunst may be an ok actress, but she cannot pull off the thousand yard stare that this character really needed. Her writer partner is ok enough, a hispanic Matt Dillon, but there was no connection with him either. The actor seemed more than capable for the role, but he wasn't given much to work with. They acquire a young sidekick early on and she's interesting, but they kind of downplayed her, when I think in this type of movie, she would have been the better lead. And they have a wily veteran reporter who is kind of the heart of the group, but again, vastly under-written. Jesse Plemons shows up to play the same role he always gets, the politely creepy southern guy, and he was fine in his role. In fact, he did a great job escalating to terrifying, going from 0-100 in a snap. I wish he was in the movie more. But in the end, there was really no one for me to latch onto, no one to care about.

It was interesting that media sources friendly to the president were pushing his propaganda message, while everyone in the real world could see with their own eyes that the message was complete BS. It happened in the movie, think about it what you will.

Another thing may just be my personal hang ups... this movie seems really apolitical (thankfully), but I don't trust nor to I hold in any regard anyone in the journalism field. Some of you know this, others may not. It was tough for me to care about these characters, and I would have rather seen the personal struggles of the combatants on both sides of the war instead of tagging along with journalists. Despite a shocking event in the first act, the movie doesn't really get going until the third act as far as I'm concerned. There were some great points of tension, but they were few and far between. And the only thing interesting to me was that the president's media supporters were pushing his propagandistic message while other reporters in the field saw a different story.

Anyway... see this movie, or don't. But for me, I may have to see it again if I'm expected to get more out of it.


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