‘Civil War’: Connected TV & Movie Review

By Brian Upton
April 12, 2024

“We record so other people ask. You want to be a journalist?

That’s the job.”

Civil War

Don’t venture out to Alex Garland’s Civil War with the expectation that you are going to see a movie that will satisfy a burning itch or agenda about which party would take the blame for casting Americans against each other again on a battlefield like it’s 1863.

This movie at its core is about the human condition with a nod to the frailty of holding on to democracy. Garland skillfully leaves the audience pondering the exact circumstances that would lead to a second US Civil War and jumps right into the ramifications and consequences.

The film follows a group of journalists Lee, Joel, Sammy and Jesse (played by Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura , Stephen McKinley Henderson and Cailee Spaeny) from New York as they traverse through burning, abandoned cities and deserted roads on their way to Washington DC, with the goal of interviewing the president ( played by Nick Offerman) before the Western Forces, led by California and Texas, close in on the White House.

Garland takes the his subject matter to heart (very similar to the directors take on how far we are willing to go with AI integration in his 2014 film ‘Ex Machina’) Like Ex Machina, there is a tremendous amount of respect given to the audience to come to their own conclusions about his intention.

The film pulls no punches. From recent events in Gaza and dating back to Fallujah, we have become accustomed to watching our atrocities safely disconnected from afar via the cable news channel of our choice. To see suicide bombings, mass graves and war crimes against fellow citizens set against familiar tranquil domestic backdrops like Western Pennsylvania is unsettling and in the end, thought provoking.

The strength of the narrative is surprisingly the ethical dilemma that imbedded war correspondents face. At one point, Dunst’s character ‘Lee’ says, without emotion, to a young aspiring journalist “We record so other people ask. You want to be a journalist. That’s the job.”

That clinical advice comes across more as a coping mechanism that the journalists rely on to detach themselves from the horrors of war they are required to document.

Overall the movie left me contemplating the toll it must be for those covering war, questioning our never-ending thirst as consumers for coverage and also how easily this fictional ‘Civil War’ scenario could play out in the midst of our deepening political divisions.

‘Civil War’ is not going to be the feel good movie of the summer, but I am strongly recommending it.

Big score… a 4.6 on the Ol’ Vibe-O-Meter


In a Santa Cruz Vibes “Connected” TV & Movie review we select an actor, director, musician or contributor to the MAIN REVIEW and make a connected recommendation to another project that is available to stream ( In fact we do this TWICE just for fun )

For the “connected” review of ‘Civil War’ it will flow this way…

It starts with Alex Garland (Director of Civil War) and “CONNECTING” him to his 2014 movie EX MACHINA which is available to stream on HBO MAX.

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.

Now we will “connect” the actor, Domhnall Gleeson, from the movie EX MACHINA and will  “CONNECT” him to his role as General Hux in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, available to stream on Disney+

Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights.

'Civil War': Connected TV & Movie Review

‘Civil War’: Connected TV & Movie Review