Alex Garland’s thriller ‘Civil War’ an urgent warning to a divided U.S. 

Click to play video: '‘Civil War’ director on U.S. elections, dystopian themes and perspective of journalists'
‘Civil War’ director on U.S. elections, dystopian themes and perspective of journalists
‘Civil War’ director on U.S. elections, dystopian themes and perspective of journalists – Apr 12, 2024

A24‘s latest movie, Civil War, from the mind of writer and director Alex Garland, is a nail-biting thriller guaranteed to leave audiences thinking about the film long after the final gunshot has sounded.

Positioned as a road movie meandering through multiple states, Garland is careful to not romanticize the violence in Civil War, making it a true anti-war war movie.

Even still, the film’s most dramatic moments — including an unsettling cameo from Jesse Plemons in striking red sunglasses and an even scarier snarl — will keep viewers on-edge with the particularly gnawing kind of suspense Garland has become known for.

The film follows a caravan of photojournalists en route to interview the President of the United States (Nick Offerman) after California and Texas have separated from the country in an act of civil war. It’s a race against the clock as Lee, a jaded, longtime journalist (Kirsten Dunst), and her colleagues Joel (Wagner Moura) and Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson) work their way to Washington, D.C. With them, they’ve brought newbie Jessie (Cailee Spaeny), who admires Lee and wants to become a photojournalist at her level.

Story continues below advertisement

Things only escalate from there.

Lee (Kirsten Dunst), Joel (Wagner Moura) and Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) in ‘Civil War.’. Elevation Pictures

Fans of Garland, who also created the 2014 sci-fi/thriller Ex Machina, might be disappointed to learn he won’t be directing “for the foreseeable future.”

Though he says he’ll continue to write screenplays for other directors, Garland called his decision “uncontentious” because being a director “is just a job.”

“Honestly, I’ve always been slightly annoyed by the status that is dropped onto directors. I think most of it isn’t really deserved,” Garland says. “They are just one of a film crew and there are other jobs within the crew that I’m interested in, so I’m just doing that.”

Global News’ Sarah Do Couto sat down with Garland to discuss Civil War, the film’s U.S. election-year timing and authenticity in war movies.

Story continues below advertisement

(You can watch the full interview with Alex Garland, top.)

‘Civil War’ will be released in theatres across Canada on April 12, 2024. 

Sponsored content