Civil War – The DVDfever Cinema Review – Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny

Civil War Civil War paints a picture where the USA is falling, amongst deep dissatisfaction with the incumbent government and President (Nick OffermanDumb Money), although it doesn’t get into the specifics why, other than he’s currently bucking the usual trend of going into his third term, and that he’s deeply unpopular.

Then again, after the way the Tories have fucked the United Kingdom six ways from Sunday, since 2010, I can imagine the reason for their ire.

The film quickly brings together world-weary war photographer Lee Smith (Kirsten DunstMelancholia) and potential protégé Jessie Cullen (Cailee SpaenyPriscilla) – the latter of whom is a big fan of Lee’s work – in a very tense situation, and in a country where explosions and power cuts have become an accepted way of life.

The plan for Lee and Joel (Wagner MouraElysium) is to drive 800 miles to Washington DC and interview the President before the expected collapse of the city, at the hands of the WF (Western Forces). Tagging along are veteran journo Sammy (Stephen McKinley HendersonDune Part One), while Jessie also cadges a lift to Charlottesville on the way.

Civil War

Jesse Plemons in one of the most tense scenes of the film

Civil War brings us plenty of gross gore, to the point where I thought this might’ve been given an 18-certificate – especially when it comes to the treatment of fellow Americans taken hostage for the crime of looting, making this feel like a situation similar to The Last Of Us, as humans pick over each other for the remaining scraps on the planet.

However, I can’t see where the $50m budget was spent on this film, since for example, for one town they pass through, we see a disused shopping centre. I don’t know if the JC Penney store named was already on the front of the building we see, but even if that required a bit of CGI to add it in, the rest of the set is simply parking a few cars and pouring litter all over the price.

Civil War is largely a very good film, detailing the horrors of war and the trials of press and war photographers trying to furrow a path, when they could easily fall foul of extreme military forces, evoking memories of both Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and Oliver Stone’s Salvador, as well as real-life current invasions into Ukraine, and the ongoing war crimes between Hamas and Israel. Plus, I ended up going to see this film on the day which followed Iran also joining in to throw hundreds of drones at the latter.

All that said, it does also fall into a couple of cliché traps which I won’t detail here, to avoid spoilers, but if you’ve watched enough films, you can see these coming a mile off.

As an aside, the film also brings back to the screen both Kirsten Dunst as Lee, and husband Jesse Plemons (Killers Of The Flower Moon), in a cameo as an unnamed soldier, who will make his presence felt when the time comes. They married after meeting on the set of The Power Of The Dog.

Finally, I can’t see why this is showing in IMAX screens. It’s a drama, not a sci-fi epic!

Civil War is in cinemas now, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD. However, once announced, it will appear on the New DVD Blu-ray 3D and 4K releases UK list.

Civil War – Official Trailer – A24

Detailed specs:

Running time: 109 minutes
Release date: April 12th 2024
Studio: A24
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Rating: 8.5/10

Director: Alex Garland
Producers: Gregory Goodman, Andrew Macdonald, Allon Reich
Screenplay: Alex Garland
Music: Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury

Lee Smith: Kirsten Dunst
Joel: Wagner Moura
Jessie Cullen: Cailee Spaeny
Sammy: Stephen McKinley Henderson
President: Nick Offerman
Unnamed Soldier: Jesse Plemons
Dave: Jefferson White
Tony: Nelson Lee
Bohai: Evan Lai
Pete: Greg Hill
Eddie: Edmund Donovan
Spotter: Karl Glusman
Sniper: Jin Ha