Civil War: Surprisingly, A Very Good Movie, If Depressing

Bob Mayer
2 min readMay 30, 2024


Civil War

I probably shouldn’t say surprisingly given the director. Its directed and written by Alex Garland who did Annihilation and 28 Days Later. But I saw ads for it and some trailers and thought it was some shoot ’em up exploitation of current political trends. It is not.

It is the story of a journalist, played by Kirsten Dunst who is traveling from New York City to Washington DC during a Civil War between the Western States and the United States. She has three accompanying her, including a naïve young woman who also wants to be a war photographer.

Some might feel frustrated that there isn’t more light shed on the backstory of the Civil War, but that’s actually a strength of the movie. The focus is on the characters and what they encounter, both good and bad, leaning toward the latter. Some also mock that California and Texas would somehow be on the same side, but the reality is, those in Washington govern at the desire of the people. We tend to forget that.

The key to the movie is the various scenarios that play out. From Americans in a refugee camp getting along, to a peaceful town that’s sitting the war out, to the more gruesome scenes of the worst of us.

Dunst’s husband, Jesse Plemons, who was a last-minute casting replacement, steals the movie in his one scene. He plays someone who is willing to kill at the wrong word. Standing next to a mass grave that he just had bodies dumped into he asks the key question: “What kind of American are you?”

There are many in the country who have fantasies about how a Civil War might play out but those in the military who have deployed to places where they have actually happened can tell you first-hand it is horrible. Many may not believe it, but there are those in your neighborhood who would gladly be Plemons character and put a bullet in the back of your head if the shackles of law and order are released.

We live in dangerous times and this movie is a very well done warning.

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Bob Mayer

West Point grad; Special Ops Vet; NY Times bestseller of over 80 books; for free books and over 200 free downloadable slideshows go to