Alex Garland's New War Epic Is a Disturbing Take on the Apocalypse
Which side are you on?
Alex Garland has a knack for making even the loftiest science fiction premise feel grounded and human, but in recent years he’s experimented with different forms, like folk horror Men and the underseen miniseries Devs. Now he’s moving back to the vein of 28 Days Later with an apocalyptic tale of society falling apart, but this time, the threat isn’t infection; it’s secession.
A24’s upcoming Civil War follows an America divided, though it’s not exactly clear how. News clips in the trailer refer to almost 20 states leaving the union, and the President (Nick Offerman) refers to the “Western Forces” of California and Texas, which aren’t exactly the most ideologically similar states (there’s also something called the “Florida Alliance,” which you can interpret for yourselves).
Check out the full trailer below:
There’s a lot to absorb in a trailer for a movie with such a big premise, but one of the creepiest scenes sees Brazilian actor Wagner Moura’s character held at gunpoint by a soldier played by Jesse Plemons. When Moura’s character says he’s American, Plemons replies, “What kind of American are you?”
Kirsten Dunst also stars as a photographer leading a quest to keep the country from falling apart, but from the trailer it looks like it may be too little too late.
Apocalyptic stories are having their moment: this year alone we’ve seen The Last of Us, The Creator, and Leave the World Behind, among others. Collectively, they offer a consensus that the most malicious threat in the aftermath of destruction won’t be external, but internal. Now, Civil War doubles down by showing a crumbling United States that only has its own apathy to blame for its state of affairs.
This feels like the perfect project for Alex Garland: big and lofty, but still intrinsically human. And like some of his previous projects, it’s also sure to start some of the most intense online debates you’ve ever seen.