CIVIL WAR – Review by T.J. Callahan

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Civil War: “I need a quote.”

They shoot journalists don’t they? In Alex Garland’s Civil War they sure do…and everything else that moves within an inch of its life. This Civil War is not an historical drama, but a cautionary tale of what could lie ahead for the United States when democracy teeters on the brink of collapse.

Set in the near future, Civil War is an almost documentary type chronicling of embedded war journalists on a road trip to Washington, D.C. trying to get one last interview with the President before he flees the White House. Civil War isn’t meant to be political. Garland doesn’t even give a reason for the unrest. All we know is California and Texas have seceded from the Union and have banded together to form the Western Federation in an attempt to take control of the dystopian government. There’s no right or wrong. No good or bad.

Kirsten Dunst stars as groundbreaking photojournalist Lee Smith, a matter of fact, jaded war correspondent who talks little, but speaks volumes with her actions and facial expressions. It’s all about the job until it’s not. She leads the pack of her fellow veteran journalists Josh (Wagner Moura) and Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and aspiring photographer Jessie (Pricilla’s Cailee Spaeny) as they encounter complete chaos and frightening situations on their way to the money shot with a power hungry three-term president played by Nick Offerman.

What Civil War lacks in dialogue it makes up for in visuals and sound. The score cuts like a knife as we travel through the war torn towns that have been reduced to bombed out battlefields with their history being recorded by these cold blooded and bloodied shooters of film with PRESS emblazoned on their chests.

Civil disobedience, civil liberties, civil unrest, civil rights…Civil War. See it in IMAX if you can. Wear a flak jacket because it puts you on the front lines of “What if?” My husband, Ricky, gives Civil War two eyes and one jaw open. That translates to an 8 out of 10.

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T. J. Callahan

Texas Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster, T.J. Callahan switched gears from traffic and news reporting as a member of the Marconi Award winning Hudson and Harrigan Show on KILT in Houston to directing you to the right movie theatre as the resident film critic for Houston Radio Platinum and 101 Gold , Southern New Mexico's favorite radio station. Since 2009, T.J. has exclusively critiqued premiering films on such stations as KRMD in Shreveport, La., KILT in Houston, WCKT in Sarasota, Fla., as well as on The Chris X Blayney Show on The Liberty Eagle Radio Network and The Sam Malone Show on KNTH in Houston. Entertaining and informative, T.J. gets right to the point and lets you know whether the latest epic is worth your time. Listen to her Friday and Saturdays on houstonradioplatinum.com and on Friday afternoons on the Leslie T. Travis Show on KVLC FM in Las Cruces. T.J. is also a proud member of the Critics Choice Association and the Houston Film Critics Society. She truly believes everything in life is one degree of Blazing Saddles.