The Critical Drinker Is Not Very Impressed With Civil War

We’ve been dreading the release of this movie since the first trailer came out, because our impression is that Hollywood isn’t capable, and maybe was never capable, of telling an effective story about what a second civil war in America might look like. And what we heard about Civil War, the Alex Garland vehicle starring Kirsten Dunst as a photojournalist traveling in a group embedded with rebel forces making their way to Washington, DC to overthrow the president amid a full-scale war, made us think even less that this was something we would enjoy.

As it’s been described, the scenario Civil War depicts has Texas and California getting together to head up something called the Western Alliance and opening hostilities against a president vaguely resembling Donald Trump who – perhaps illegally – is in the middle of his third term. How Texas and California, which are as incompatible politically as it’s possible to be, would join forces is apparently never explained.

And there is a bit of cowardice – or maybe it’s marketing? – involved in that, because to create a plausible scenario in which a second civil war would begin is almost certain to alienate to the point of protest at least half the potential audience for the film. There is no plausible scenario in which Texas and California would join forces against Washington, DC, but there is a very plausible scenario in which Texas and Florida, and all the states in between, plus the Great Plains and most of the rocky mountain states and a sizable chunk of the Midwest, would do so.

Except if you made a movie about that scenario, things might get ugly. As in, you’d have fistfights in theaters and people protesting outside.

There’s a degree of shameless opportunism involved in making a movie about a civil war on the eve of the most bitterly-contested election (at least, that’s what it appears this will be; it’s possible that might not actually materialize depending on the performance of the two major candidates), and it seems like the makers of Civil War attempted to smooth over the rough edges of that by failing to give the movie any real plot.

Which is the Critical Drinker’s take on it. He notes that not only is the scenario implausible and never explained, the characters are generic and lack any real development over the course of the film.

So all it really amounts to is a bunch of scenes of chaos, some very well-shot, without any appropriate sense of context woven in. Without a real story to tie all of this together, it’s just a jumble.

At least, that’s his take.

To the extent he’s right, it would seem like the real mistake was making this movie at all. If you aren’t going to tell a story based on things which are true, then why bother trying?

If we’re going to have a civil war in this country it’ll be because our institutions are radicalized and corrupted, our government not only refuses to represent the people but actively despises them, and we as Americans are less patriotic now than we have been perhaps in our entire history, and those elements are combining to unravel the cohesion of our country at a time when foreign enemies are bent on taking advantage. A few more years of centrifugal forces and malign foreign influence, and the scenario almost writes itself.

The problem is that people aren’t going to like it.

Most of us don’t want to see our country going away. Most of us at least say we want to fight to hold it together.


So if you’re making a movie like this as a warning, then it needs to contain some elements in it that people might consider as action items not to lose the country. Maybe the tyrannical president being overthrown in this movie is where he is because public disenfranchisement from a loss of election integrity meant he won courtesy of ballot box stuffing, and the movie is about what you get when you allow elections to get rigged.

Of course, they won’t do that because you’re not allowed to validate the opinions of those “terrorists” who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

Or maybe part of the civil war involves states taking matters of illegal immigration into their own hands and physically deporting illegal migrants and the federal government steps in to stop them, and it all turns bloody from there. That’s a growingly plausible scenario but Hollywood wouldn’t make it.

Maybe it’s energy states vs. Green New Deal states, with the feds siding with the latter.

There are lots of plausible scenarios. Each one probably results in fistfights at the theaters. And maybe that’s why they chose an implausible scenario which makes a bad movie. Better that than fistfights in the theater, perhaps?

Or maybe it would have been better for Garland to make a movie about something else.



Interested in more national news? We've got you covered! See More National News
Previous Article
Next Article

Trending on The Hayride

No trending posts were found.