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Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

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Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Old 04-12-24, 02:05 AM
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Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread





From filmmaker Alex Garland comes a journey across a dystopian future America, following a team of military-embedded journalists as they race against time to reach DC before rebel factions descend upon the White House.



Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny

Written and Directed by Alex Garland

Running Time: 109 Minutes

The budget is reportedly between $50 to $75M


RT Score:

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/civil_war_2024

84% as of 4/12/24


Seeing it in IMAX on Friday. This movie has sparked a lot of discussion, so I thought it was worth a review thread. But, I know this type of movie probably doesn't appeal to some in this forum for a theatrical experience. So, if you're passing for now, it's all good.
Old 04-12-24, 07:52 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Saw this last night. As previously stated in the other thread, this had quiet moments and then BAM!! it got fucking loud! Some really intense moments. Moments of brutal reality. Kirsten and Cailee were really good together.
Old 04-12-24, 05:32 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I saw it last night and liked it. Not that I "enjoyed" it, but I thought it was well done. The other thread was speculating about what genre it was, and it's unabashedly a war film with political undertones. I think it's also social science fiction in the same way as The Purge, in that you have a scenario and see how people react. As others have said, the end is a thrill ride, but there's a sense of tension and dread throughout. Even one scene that might feel comfortable isn't, because you know it shouldn't be. We have no right to feel comfortable.

The political stuff wasn't in your face, but it was always there, even if just to make us wonder about it. We never know what caused the war, and having Texas and California on the same side feels like it's trying to avoid red-blue lines. But though they said that the president character isn't based on anyone, he's serving a third term, abolished the FBI, and is an idiot, so we can speculate who that is portraying. And the opposition forces trying to take him out aren't rednecks, even though Jesse Plemons is.

This is not the kind of film I'd generally rewatch, but I expect I'll rewatch it at some point.

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Old 04-12-24, 09:20 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I just got back from seeing it in IMAX. A very compelling, but also distressing movie experience. It’s definitely not for everyone. But, there are some really solid performances. There are some shocking moments.

And for the most part it’s basically a road trip movie with the 4 core characters dealing with difficult situations. And then all hell breaks loose in the final act.

Old 04-12-24, 11:31 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I saw it today and walked out disappointed. I wasn't expecting a fun time, but I wanted a thought provoking experience or at least give me an emotional feel for what it would be like to have to survive in this world. I got neither from Civil War. I found the plot flat and boring with zero character development. The few battle scenes were intense and realistic, but without any type of context which the film purposely leaves out, it felt like just watching someone playing a video game to me.
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Old 04-13-24, 12:17 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I liked it, even though it wasn't what I thought it was going to be.

It was alittle dull outside of the strong (and intense) action sequences. The White House raid had me on the edge of my seat.

The scene with Jesse Lemons was the most memorable. Heart racing stuff
Old 04-13-24, 09:25 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I thought this was very good... and the more I sit with it the more I admire it.

The cast is great. I've always liked Dunst, so good to see her at the forefront here. I've liked Spaeny in everything I've seen her in (even things I did not like) and she has it. She will have a great career.

Some white knuckle scenes for sure. Awesome sound design.

Schrader capture some of my thoughts.



This is worth checking out:


Last edited by dex14; 04-13-24 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 04-14-24, 04:51 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Alex Garland can really run circles around other directors when it comes to building up atmosphere and tension in scenes through shot selection, editing and use of sound. He's really a master at it. I thought this was very effective as even just a straightforward thriller about a group of people traveling through a war torn America where any confrontation can be your last. There isn't much to the plot, but Garland milks almost everything he can out of it while adroitly ramping up the story's visceral impact instead of its more complex political overtones.

However, I did have some nitpicks about the film.

Spoiler:

The Jesse Plemons sequence was chilling...until one of the characters arrives in the nick of time to ram the bad guys with his vehicle and save the three main characters. And of course, the guy who saves everyone ends up getting mortally wounded. This is the kind of thing you see in generic action movies, and it undermined the more realistic and edgier tone that Garland was aiming for.

And the end -- when Dunst's character sacrifices her life to save Spaeny -- just felt a little too corny and contrived. Again, it was the kind of thing you tend to see in more conventional Hollywood type of fare. However, I did find it interesting how Garland had the two other characters ignore Kirsten's corpse and just go on doing their jobs without taking any time to express emotion for her demise.






Old 04-14-24, 09:29 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by davidh777
I saw it last night and liked it. Not that I "enjoyed" it, but I thought it was well done. The other thread was speculating about what genre it was, and it's unabashedly a war film with political undertones. I think it's also social science fiction in the same way as The Purge, in that you have a scenario and see how people react. As others have said, the end is a thrill ride, but there's a sense of tension and dread throughout. Even one scene that might feel comfortable isn't, because you know it shouldn't be. We have no right to feel comfortable.

The political stuff wasn't in your face, but it was always there, even if just to make us wonder about it. We never know what caused the war, and having Texas and California on the same side feels like it's trying to avoid red-blue lines. But though they said that the president character isn't based on anyone, he's serving a third term, abolished the FBI, and is an idiot, so we can speculate who that is portraying. And the opposition forces trying to take him out aren't rednecks, even though Jesse Plemons is.

This is not the kind of film I'd generally rewatch, but I expect I'll rewatch it at some point.

Caught this yesterday and instead of writing what would pretty much be the above statement, I'll just say "ditto."
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Old 04-16-24, 11:03 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Very mixed on this picture. The cinematography and sound design are great. Good performances
across the board. Itís a good study on war journalism but doesnít seem to have anything to say outside of that which is weird because itís set in a situation that begs to be explored particularly in 2024. I feel like taking the core of this movie and setting it in a made up foreign country would have only benefitted it as it wouldnít leave people wanting more.
Old 04-18-24, 09:10 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I went to see this on Tuesday Night and I don't want to say I enjoyed it but its a very well made movie. This was my very first A24 movie. Well to start off I'll say it referenced some things to American Politics that I saw but most people still say its an apolitical movie. I didn't have a problem with it being more of a Road Trip movie but I think its more of a horror movie. It's a look in the mirror for the people calling for Civil War and shows what the atrocities of such a conflict would look like. For a War movie the sound design and effects were amazing and if you can see it in IMAX or a large format screen that's the way to go. I'll likely watch it again and if this gets a 4k release I could see it being a reference level kind of disc.
Old 04-18-24, 09:22 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Bluelitespecial
This was my very first A24 movie.
Maybe you saw an A24 movie without noticing it was A24
Old 04-18-24, 09:27 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

No I knew this was an A24 movie. I have wanted to watch some A24 movies I just haven't gotten to them yet. I really want to see The Iron Claw and I'll probably rent it off of Vudu.
Old 04-18-24, 07:05 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

What do people make of Dunst's character's seemingly frozen state before entering the White House? All along, she appears to be the more rational and detached one, and was even able to wipe off the blood from the back seat without thinking too much about it. Yet, in the final sequence, it looks as though she has a total breakdown and needed to be dragged around in a state of shock. And then in the mere blink of an eye she comes back to reality, tells the group that the president isn't in the car, and leads them into the White House. I'm not sure what to make of her mental state at that point.
Echoing some of you, I don't think I "enjoyed" it per se.... I think it's a good to great movie with technical merits, especially the sound, but what exactly is the story that's being told here? It seems like a ride-along with some war photo-journalists so that we can witness some shocking atrocities? Had an afternoon to kill and decided to try out a nearby Cinepolis theater on a whim. This cost me $19 to see, and I suppose I felt like it was worth it based on the second half alone.
Old 04-18-24, 07:56 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Yeah there were a lots of weird things in the last ten minutes.

Why did Dunst become emotional other than to counterbalance the younger photo journalist becoming detached?

Why did Dunst know the president was in the white house?

Why would the WF soldiers hold off on shooting the president just because a journalist told them to other than it being a cool ending?
Old 04-18-24, 11:02 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Glad to see you pop in this thread, dvdjunkie32.

I've been telling people this is the movie I've most not wanted to see this year. The subject matter in these times is just challenging, and throughout the film you can't help but ask, could we? Would we? Will we? Tough questions. I think the toughest lingering question every viewer should take as a cautionary tale is this: if our situation truly came to something like this, and we were killing each other under whatever martial law we liked, how could we ever transition out of that?! I'm sure it's been done throughout history (they didn't call it The Wild West for nothing). But this should make people say one of the greatest reasons to stop is because if we don't, we won't be able to later.

I loved the ambiguity. It isn't clear who to root for at all in this. We don't have all the information or perspectives, and neither does anyone else in the movie. I think the journalists have strong thoughts on it all, but not in a way that answers the questions of wrong or right. One would think a 3-term president who dismantled the FBI would be a bad thing, but we also don't know why it happened. Would I feel differently if I'd heard why and it made sense to me? I appreciate that this film isn't trying to answer these questions, but to let us ask them and wonder. That's exactly what we need right now.

Excellent cinematography, good acting. I really liked how many long shots were done with very subtle tilt-shift effect to give things that miniature or "toy look." It happened in the stadium, with a tank, at the Lincoln Memorial, etc. It felt like it fed a theme of war treated like a game, but in this war the stakes are way too high. Very well done.

My only mistake was watching the trailers a few times. I knew exactly what would happen. It was easy to tell what all the story beats would be.
Spoiler:
I knew that Sammy would drive in and save the group from the soldier played by Jesse Plemons. I knew they would drag the president from the Oval Office desk. And I even had a greater sense that Lee would die and Jessie would take her place in the cycle. I picked up on all of this from the trailer.




Maybe I'm too much of a writer or moviegoer. Maybe I remember trailers too well or they cut them too terribly. But scenes that should have had a greater sense of "anything can happen" dread didn't have that impact for me as much as they would have without the trailers. My guess is if I'd had more surprises, I would've rated this higher than 4/5 stars.
Old 04-19-24, 02:11 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by story
But scenes that should have had a greater sense of "anything can happen" dread didn't have that impact for me as much as they would have without the trailers.
I was annoyed the trailer used shots from the Jesse Plemmons scene showing the dead body next to Cailee Spaeny, so as soon as that sequence started I knew buddy was getting shot, removing any shock of when it happened. Could have been a more powerful moment for me.
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Old 04-19-24, 10:17 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by Nesbit
Yeah there were a lots of weird things in the last ten minutes.

Why did Dunst become emotional other than to counterbalance the younger photo journalist becoming detached?
She struggles with PTSD throughout the film. An active combat zone finally triggered more major symptoms, on top of her mentor recently dying and having to truly face personal loss. She's also facing an uncertain future after the US is going to fall apart completely.

Why did Dunst know the president was in the white house?
She's been in multiple warzones (likely giving her previous experience with dictators) and researching the man for a while. She figured either he was still holed up or at the very least they could get some shots of the now-destroyed White House.

Why would the WF soldiers hold off on shooting the president just because a journalist told them to other than it being a cool ending?
Shooting an unarmed non-combatant is a war crime. Considering a journalist would be reporting their actions, they gave him a second. It's also somewhat of a custom to grant last words before execution. ALSO, they were probably curious what he'd say.
C'mon man, you didn't pick up on any of this?
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Old 04-19-24, 12:29 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I mean there is the scene on the bathtub where it shows her PTSD. In the two hours after that we see little to no sign of it and also see her having very little reaction to him dying including cleaning up the blood on his car seat with no issue.

I dunno it seemed like unearned esp. Sheís not shown to show such insight anywhere else in the movie.

Maybe they were curious but they didnít seem to take orders from the reporters at any other point so it seemed weird for them to do it then when they were about to accomplish their mission.
Old 04-20-24, 07:37 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Saw a late showing with my wife last night. We both enjoyed it. Definitely well made and acted. A24 normally delivers solid films. Not a ton to say really.

To me this was more of a horror movie than a lot of what passes for that genre. Lots of chilling imagery and as mentioned by many the scene with Jesse Plemons is super intense and hard to watch.

I also will echo what a lot have said in that while itís a great movie I donít see myself having the urge to rewatch it. Overall worth seeing though.
Old 04-21-24, 02:13 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

So, with the 2nd weekend numbers out. Is this movie a hit?
Old 04-22-24, 06:05 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

Originally Posted by nikkijo
So, with the 2nd weekend numbers out. Is this movie a hit?
Relative to A24... yes.
Old 04-23-24, 02:30 AM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

To reiterate how loud the movie is, I could hear it during my screening of ABIGAIL the other day.
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Old 04-23-24, 09:35 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

I saw it this past weekend, and it is still haunting me. I do want to see it again to see if my feelings are validated.

It seems as if many critics and people are completely missing the point. Lee spells it out: "Every time I survived a war zone, I thought I was sending a warning home: Don't do this. Yet here we are.” Much like Garland's statements on his previous film, sometimes there is no hidden meaning. It is what it is. This was reinforced in the sniper scene: "She gets it."

I have heard many laments over "I couldn't tell who to root for" or "Which side was which?" One of the podcasts/Youtube videos I listened to included this great response: "It's this movie where people talkin' about 'Where's Tony Stark fighting Abraham Lincoln?', that ain't my Civil War." Yeah, this isn't your kind of movie. Again, you missed the point. The country wasn't torn into two factions. It's where we are at today. People aren't united for their cause, they are just against the boogeyman on the perceived other side. For example, the kid at the gas station wasn't some revolutionary. He was a snot nosed punk who was getting revenge on his high school bully. It doesn't matter what your rage is, just let it flow through you so somebody can take advantage of it for their gain.

It's not a perfect film, however I think it is my best picture this year. It is terrifying because more of it is here than most people realize.

Some things were too predictable:
Spoiler:
Lee's death was horribly telegraphed. I knew it the very first moment Jessie took her picture at the riot. It was then cemented when she asked "Would you take my picture as I was dying." I feel it would have worked far better had it been flipped and Jessie died, not Lee.

Lee knowing the President wasn't in the car. I thought that was pretty damned obvious as soon as they came out of the White House and rammed the barricade. I expected the decoy to have a bomb that was going to kill the imbedded reporters (on the side of the street Jessie had just left).


Jessie seeming to be 14 bothered me. They should have played her up to her age (they say she is 23).
Old 05-16-24, 11:33 PM
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Re: Civil War (2024, D: Garland) -- The Reviews Thread

This will be on PVOD next Friday


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