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An adrenaline-fueled thrill ride through a near-future fractured America balanced on the razors edge. (A24)

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Reviews (10)

Lima 

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English Recall the three year old event when the Trump mob stormed the Capitol. Alex Garland sensitively and thoughtfully directs this theme, this societal schism, into disconnected mini-stories, with just these aforementioned protagonists (and they don't need a buffalo head to do it) killing because "real fucking America", all of which the protagonists, journalists, follow on their way to Washington. As long it stays in the road movie waters, with lots of iconic scenes, it's great. Unfortunately, Garland flips the switch at the end, and with the arrival in D.C., it becomes a regular war movie that felt like a mannerism in its denouement and showdown. Not only did it leave me cold at the end, but I actually thought "and that's it, Alex?". Too bad, we had the build-up to the movie event of the year, and well, it's not. But still an honest 4 stars (no stripes) for the impressive heaviness and disillusionment with humanity in the first two thirds. ()

Stanislaus 

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English After Ex Machina and Annihilation, this is my third encounter with Alex Garland's directorial work, which, as with the aforementioned films, tells a story from the more or less near future - but this time in a more contemporary and realistic vein, which makes you shiver all the more. The plot is a simple road movie with action interludes where the main characters are confronted with disturbing scenes from "everyday life in the USA". I liked the audiovisual execution, with photographs of the journalists inserted into the picture, and the background music, which seemed to soften the horrors depicted with its friendly country overtones. The most uncomfortable sequence for me was undoubtedly the confrontation with Jesse Plemons. Visually, I was most impressed by the passage through the burning forest; and in terms of action, I liked the thrilling finale the most. A solid four stars! ()

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Kaka 

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English A film that offers some impressive moments, but as a whole it mostly skims the surface. It deals with a few key themes, but it is mostly too thesis-like and one-dimensional. A raging America where we get no introduction and a miserable, rushed conclusion. Jesse Plemons steals for himself what is undoubtedly the film's best scene, and the final wartime inferno, while beautifully fluid and robust in sound, lacks technical skill and sophistication. It's not bad, Alex Garland is a capable and distinctive director, but Civil War is perhaps too ambitious a theme that deserved more than a journalistic road-movie with a wartime finale. ()

Goldbeater 

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English For Alex Garland, Civil War is a return to the tried-and-tested formula of a group of characters wandering through an "inhuman" landscape in pursuit of a vague goal, but compared to 28 Days Later, Annihilation and Sunshine, the British filmmaker is now dealing with a rather down-to-earth and quite realistic scenario. I've always seen him as a very capable genre filmmaker and I also got what I expected from his latest effort: a solid simple genre film; don't expect anything complicated or deep. The relative straightforwardness actually suits Garland far more than the artsy symbolism of his previous two efforts, which is also not to say that Civil War completely resigns itself to it. If I have one criticism, it's some all-too-obvious visual choices, in a film that, given the premise, would be best served by a straightforward and almost documentary-like approach, the director too often tries to frame the characters in all symmetry in the middle of the frame, as if they were in a Wes Anderson film, and it doesn't quite fit the concept. On the other hand, I appreciate that Garland didn't reach for some low-hanging fruit in the script and somehow politicised the film in a one-sided way at its core, so we get a story that is balanced and, most importantly, not black-and-white. ()

J*A*S*M 

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English Olympic level in the discipline of "inducing a feeling of deep inner turmoil". I haven't seen something so often beautiful, yet repulsive and disturbing in a long time. And my apologies to A24 for wrongly suspecting it of producing a straightforward war blockbuster. It's, of course, another auteur film, just the way we like it. ()

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