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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)

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! ()

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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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. ()

POMO 

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English It was clear that Garland wasn’t going to make a blockbuster out of this. However, it wasn’t clear what his masterful balancing between reality and dimensions beyond human perception would bring to a film that is supposed to stand solely on raw realism. Civil War contains grand scenes with tanks and helicopters, but without a cinematographic concept of the kind that Alfonso Cuarón employed in Children of Men and which would be needed here. At its core, Civil War is merely an intimate road movie spanning a broken America as it follows a team of three seasoned journalists and their novice colleague, whose innocence stands in contrast to their experience and professional detachment. Our question of why such a young girl would be doing such work is immediately answered for us: “I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. And I've never felt more alive.” ___ Civil War avoids sentiment and the dark tone of the story is lightened by the use of American pop oldies, but it lacks the artistic optics that we like Garland for in the first place. The film should me made up entirely of terrifying scenes, but it contains only one, which reflects the one-dimensional thinking of America’s redneck population and features a standout performance by Jesse Plemons. The director amplifies the rawness not with dark instrumental music, but with the intense sound of gunfire. And even though the film is compelling and engaging thanks to its characters, it lacks refined and unexpected conflicts, as well as an intellectual reach that would go beyond warning us about Donald Trump. And the climax is literally ridiculous. ()

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. ()

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