CIVIL WAR is the latest movie from filmmaker Alex Garland. It’s a brutal, in-your-face, and eerily realistic take on the world we could come to live in. A very important war movie. Read our full Civil War movie review here!

CIVIL WAR is Alex Garland’s newest dystopian take on the world. However, as with any of the movies by Alex Garland, it seems intended not just as a warning of what could be, but rather as a cautionary tale. I recognize that the two can seem like the same, but there are subtle differences.

The movie is set in the near future and with talks of a president at the end of his third term, it’s not difficult to draw conclusions as to who might attempt this. However, no names or party affiliations are ever mentioned. It simply isn’t necessary which in itself speaks volumes.

Continue reading our Civil War movie review below. Find it in theaters now or On Digital from May 24, 2024.

An extremely important war movie

In Civil War, we follow US journalists covering war and this time their assignment is in their own backyard. Having covered war (and war crimes) all over the world, they are now attempting to document that war will always corrupt and destroy.

All while still looking to get the ultimate scoop. After all, they are still journalists. Whether using the written word or the perfect image to convey what war does to people, they are doing their best to stay detached.

I doubt it’ll come as a spoiler of any kind to say that this becomes virtually impossible. When confronted with people, who don’t see you as equal – or even human – but rather a pest and opponent that needs to be removed, your press accreditations would do you much good.

Civil War (2024) – Review | Dystopian War Movie

Amazing performances all around

As with any movie, even the best screenplay and amazing director can’t make their vision come to life without the right cast. For Civil War, we’re seeing a lot of the faces we’ve seen in other movies or TV series from Alex Garland. And they all deliver amazing performances.

Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog) portrays a seasoned photojournalist who has spent her life documenting war and war crimes all over the world. She’s always been thinking that her work was warning people back home to never do the same.

Yet now she finds herself documenting the very same war crimes… and even in more personal danger than ever before. Also, it should be noted that while the journalists are shown as being heroes with ethics and rules to follow, we also see the darker side of their personas.


Be sure to check out the brilliant series Devs as well >

Like Wagner Moura‘s character, who gets high on being in the middle of a shoot-out despite seeing people get killed. Then when it’s himself or people he knows that are the target of violence, he’s no longer the cool and laidback journalist focused on his story.

Then there’s the young photojournalist portrayed by Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy), who has her own trial by fire. As the story progresses – and the small crew makes their way from New York to Washington D.C., which is behind “enemy lines” – she becomes hardened while her hero (Kirsten Dunst’s character) struggles.

In the car going to D.C., we also have the senior journalist portrayed by Stephen McKinley Henderson (Devs, Dune). All four of them are dreaming of getting that one iconic image of, and immortalized quote from, the president before his side of the civil war loses.

Watch Civil War however you can!

Alex Garland is the writer and director of Civil War and he is one of my favorite filmmakers. He is unapologetic and always has a clear purpose with his movies. I love that as much as I know others will hate it. Probably because they don’t agree with his worldview or the points he wants to highlight.

As a screenwriter, he debuted with 28 Days Later (2002). However, he also wrote the novel The Beach which was adapted by the same director, Danny Boyle, in 2000. As a writer and director, he has gone even deeper and darker at times.

One obvious example is Men (2022) which is strangely related to Civil War. Also, the breathtaking FX/Hulu miniseries Devs which has a lot of the same cast members as this latest film from him. It dealt with AI and machine learning in world-defining ways.

But actually, he already put a spotlight on AI and robotics with Ex-Machina (2014), which seems more relevant than ever. I mean, a lot more people are familiar with AI now than they were a full decade ago when that movie came out.

Let’s hope his 2024 cautionary tale doesn’t come as close in its predictability!

CIVIL WAR is out in theaters and will be out on digital on May 24, 2024.


Director: Alex Garland
Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, Cailee Spaeny, Nick Offerman, Stephen McKinley Henderson


A journey across a dystopian future America, following a team of military-embedded journalists as they race against time to reach DC before rebel factions descend upon the White House.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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