Apr 11, 2024

It Can't Happen Here, Right?

Civil War
A24 (2024)
The trailer for this movie played before most of the movies that I've seen in the theater over the past few weeks.  For the most part, the footage used in the trailer is limited to a single scene in which Jesse Plemons holds a group of people at gunpoint and demanding to know what kind of Americans they are.  It's a less-is-more approach that I wish more trailers followed.

I expected this to play out like a more realistic version of The Purge with a totalitarian government and a resistance group waging war against them.  That's not quite what happens here.  The only history we get about the executive branch of this world is that the President is serving his third term, he has ordered the bombing of American civilians, and he has disbanded the FBI.  He's definitely not a good guy, but the movie does an incredible job of dancing around the details.  There is absolutely no hint of the political affiliation of the Presidents or the "Western Forces" that oppose him, or any details about how the country fell into a civil war.  It just drops you in the middle of it, and then takes you on a road trip to see how different people and towns are dealing with the situation.

Kirsten Dunst delivers a strong performance as a veteran photojournalist.  Cailee SpaneyWagner Moura, and Stephen McKinley Henderson round out her group of traveling companions on their way from New York City to Washington DC.  There's a little too much foreshadowing going on in their conversations with each other which spoils some of the story, but it's a movie worth watching.