CIVIL WAR – Review by Susan Granger

Deliberately pushing all your ‘fear’ buttons, Alex Garland’s Civil War is obviously intended to be a cautionary tale but it falls short in so many ways. The dystopian story begins sometime in the near-immediate future in war-torn New York City, where water is rationed and residents are battling the police. Several military-embedded journalists are preparing to undertake the precarious drive to Washington, D.C. hoping to interview the divisive President, who has disbanded the FBI and ordered air strikes on civilians.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Susan Kamyab

Filmmaker Alex Garland’s fourth directorial feature hits harder than most war films. Civil War is a painfully realistic portrayal of a journey across dystopian future America driven by haunting characters, graphic visuals and heart-pounding sound effects. The film focuses on a team of four journalists following the Second American Civil War. Caught between the American government and “Western Forces”, they set out on a suicide mission through a surge of war crimes to reach the president before rebel coalitions strike the White House.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Diane Carson

Civil War warns but doesn’t inform. Writer/director Alex Garland’s new film Civil War is just that, about a U.S. civil war. Don’t look for any issues beyond learning that California and Texas, yes, those two alone and together, have. As a dystopian reality terrorizes the country, four journalists undertake a road trip from New York to Charlottesville, Virginia, front lines of the rebellion.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

In Civil War, writer-director Alex Garland depicts the last days of democracy, staging intense courtyard firefights, street riots, and soldiers firing RPGs at the Lincoln Memorial. Yet his dystopian vision isn’t just out to provoke. Reminiscent of other journalism war films such as 1984’s The Killing Fields, with characters struggling to make sense out of chaos, this is an intelligent, propulsive, and shattering film about the costs of division and the toll of recording history.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Leslie Combemale

What’s in a name? In the case of writer/director Alex Garland’s Civil War, it might mean the difference between the success of a worthy film and a stumble at the box office. He’s not trying to make a stand about what’s happening in America. He’s not trying to be subjective in that way. Civil War is more about the impact of combat journalists committed to uncovering the raw truth of war; that it is brutal and senseless. Folks walking into the theater hungry for him to take a political stand about the potential dangers of polarization currently happening in the US will not be sated. If, however, they are looking for a powerful cinematic experience that shakes them to their foundations, that they’ll get. Not exactly an enjoyable experience, Civil War is a near-constant assault to the senses that amps up the tension moment by moment to the film’s last frames that will become essential viewing in anyone’s list of great war movies.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by T.J. Callahan

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.

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KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

To the Osage, the flower moon occurs when tiny flowers sprout over the hills in waves of color. Then taller plants pop up among them, stealing their water and sunshine, eventually killing them—the forces that doom them lying among them all along. The film Killers of the Flower Moon doesn’t hammer home the metaphor that author David Grann introduced in his best-selling 2017 book of the same name. But this intricate crime drama about the real-life slayings on the Osage Nation over the inheritance of oil rights gives director Martin Scorsese other allegories. The evil of White supremacy. The poison of greed. The betrayal of native people overall.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK December 3, 2021: THE POWER OF THE DOG

It has been 12 years since film titan Jane Campion released a feature film. Now, with The Power of the Dog, the New Zealand director shows she has lost not a step. Her adaptation of Thomas Savage’s 1967 Western novel offers the vivid landscapes and hothouse emotions reminiscent of the film that put her on the world map, The Piano (1993). A piano even serves as an important plot point.

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SPOTLIGHT December 2021: Ari Wegner, Cinematographer, THE POWER OF THE DOG and ZOLA

While she won’t speculate on her own awards prospects, Ari Wegner recently told me how happy she is to see the way women are now being more welcomed in the field of cinematography. She hopes this will continue to increase as female DPs start to see the recognition that has eluded them for so long. She discusses both the art and science of filmmaking with such a degree of passion and poetry, that her love for the medium is contagious. She is a leader, a champion, and a gifted artist, giving the world not only beautiful images, but a sense of hope and fascination too.

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