'Civil War': I Saw It, So You Don't Have To

Scott A Garfitt/Invision/AP

A movie my wife had no interest in seeing (she's smarter than me) was “Civil War.” She was out of town for a week, so I decided to go see it myself. 

It had been in the theater for about two weeks at that point. I was one of three people in the theater. I don’t know what I expected, but I think I got what I deserved “good and hard.” The plot wasn’t about a second American civil war. The plot was a back massage of journalists. And a subplot seems to be “Orange Man Bad.” 


The film opens with Nick Offerman playing a Trumpy “third-term” president. Trumpy intones that “victory is at hand” and "Some are already calling it the greatest victory in the history of mankind.” Even Politico recognized the "Trumpy" allegory. 

There is no explanation for how a Trumpy president managed to stay in office for a “third term,” but I think that was the filmmaker’s point: There is no "point" to a Trumpy presidency. 

Kirsten Dunst is the star of the film. She’s fearless. She is a weathered war journalist. She’s snapping photos of a New York protest when a bomb explodes, killing dozens of cops and bystanders. There is no explanation as to why anyone would suicide bomb a New York protest. Dunst is uninjured while she documents the carnage. What’s the point of the bomb? There is no point. It’s just the first back massage for photojournalists risking life and limb to document war.

The next scene has Dunst and her colleagues in a New York hotel bar chatting each other up and preparing for an interview of “third-term” Trumpy. They leave the next morning. The crew of four pile into a car and take off for Washington, D.C. 

They pass through scenes of bodies hanging from bridges and suburbs with sprinklers watering lawns. They go "shopping" in a store and tell the clerk that "there's a pretty huge civil war going on." The clerk doesn't care. What’s the point? I don’t know. 


Within hours, they are stopping for gas. Washington, D.C., is 240 miles away, but they need gas? No thought to topping off in New York? No full extra cans of gas? Nope. 

They pull into a “gas station” that looks like a parody of “Deliverance.” The only thing missing was an inbred kid playing a banjo. Horror film characters are Einsteins compared to this crew. Sadists are torturing two men in an adjacent field by hanging them like sides of beef. Dunst and her young protégé convince a sadist to pose with the dying men. The young photographer is using a film camera. Apparently, she can drop off her film at Walmart for developing? What’s the point? I don’t know. 

A sniper is sniping random people. He’s killed by another snipe. What’s the point? There isn’t one. 

The film’s trailer scene is next. A white dude wearing ruby shooting glasses is standing close to a pile of POC bodies in the back of a truck. He asks: “What kind of American are you?” Wrong answer. He kills two POC journalists. One of the journalists saves the day by running over Ruby Glasses and his sadist buddy. But the journalist takes a bullet in the side and later dies.  

Skip to the final battle for D.C. The Lincoln Memorial is blown up with a shoulder-fired rocket. The “First Lady” tries to escape the White House. Her car is blasted, and she’s executed when she steps out. Inside the White House, part of the Special Forces “Western Alliance” team enters the walled-off White House. The team includes a short black woman. Why? Most of the film is devoid of live POC, so [insert black SpecOps woman]. The Western Alliance soldiers intend to find and execute “Trumpy.” Dunst is with the Special Ops guys as they kill everyone in their path. Dunst sees a Secret Service agent point his weapon at the protégé. She jumps in front of her. Dunst’s character dies to save someone she had met two days before. Brave journalists.  


Trumpy is found. He begs for his life to no avail. He’s executed. 

Dead Trumpy is photographed by the remaining brave photojournalist.   

Who liked this movie? Mostly liberals. Who went to see this mess? Mostly people who wanted to see a Trumpy president get executed. 

What is my point? I saw "Civil War," so you don’t have to. 


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