Headline RoundupApril 12th, 2024

‘Civil War’ Movie: ‘Terrifying Premonition’ or ‘Grandly Tasteless’?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

As America enters a particularly polarized 2024 election cycle, Alex Garland’s “Civil War” movie depicts a near-future U.S. mired in internal conflict. Is it a serious prediction of a dark future, or a shallow story without a real argument?

The Details: A synopsis from IMDb says the film, which released Friday, portrays “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.”

For Context: Recent years have seen many, particularly on the political right, predicting a civil war over America’s current partisan divide. In 2021, polling by The Economist (Lean Left bias) and YouGov (Center bias) found that 43% of Americans believed a civil war was at least somewhat likely in the next decade. 

How the Media Covered It: While some reviews from news outlets took the movie seriously, others were not impressed. The Daily Caller (Right bias) said events in the movie’s trailer “could definitely happen in real life,” but a Financial Times (Center bias) review called the film a “grandly tasteless disaster movie.” Many reviews focused on the movie’s ideological vagueness. While New York Times (Opinion rated Left) columnist Michelle Goldberg said its ideological ambiguity “seems like a source of its power,” National Review’s (Opinion rated Right) Armond White called the “violent fantasy” both “offensive” and “too flimsy to be a cautionary tale.” The Verge (Lean Left bias) agreed, saying the story “doesn’t have the guts to articulate a cohesive, thoughtful point.”

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