Why ‘Civil War’ Will Be 2024’s Most Controversial Film

Alex Garland's dystopian thriller captures fears of looming elections, indictments

My brother was over for the Bowl games last weekend, and the trailer for the upcoming movie “Civil War” sparked all kinds of discussion and debate.

He argued that a Civil War wouldn’t be possible in the United States, adding there was no single issue that could divide the nation like slavery did back in 1861 or produce a clear demarkation like the Mason-Dixon Line. Such a war couldn’t be sustainable given the size of the U.S. Military.

While I appreciated those thoughts I disagreed with him on a few points.

Civil War | Official Trailer HD | A24

‘A race to the White House in a near-future America balanced on the razor’s edge.’ – the one-line teaser from studio A24 on the April 26 release.

The trailer mentions that California, Florida and Texas are out and that Texas and California have joined to form the “Western Alliance” in a fight against the remainder of the U.S. and U.S. military. To which my brother scoffed, “Texas and California joining together to do anything?”

I countered that California is Texas outside of the big cities and that how we handle immigration could easily turn those states against any kind of federal action.

I shared with my brother that I’ve thought for a long time, really since I read “Cadillac Desert” by Marc Reisner, that the most obvious next Mason-Dixon Line is the Rocky Mountains and California and the West just leaving the East over water and environmental issues.

The discussion wasn’t heated but it was intense. We were talking about real potentialities. I was amazed that a trailer for a movie had caused that intense a conversation.

Oh, and Michigan and Washington won. Two states on the same side in the trailer, one imagines.

I have another friend who constantly recommends books like “The Fourth Turning is Here,” “The End of the World is Just the Beginning” and “Hospicing Modernity.” It’s safe to say that Alex Garland (the writer/director of A24’s “Civil War”) isn’t blind to our deep fears as a nation.

His upcoming film directly taps into them.

This year could be a watershed moment in U.S. history: the 2024 presidential election, major climate events, Trump court cases, Hunter Biden’s indictment, wars in the Middle East and Europe, SCOTUS rulings, supply chain glitches and God knows what else.

Is this kind of art helping us right now?

Do we need a movie like “Civil War” at a time when so much is at stake and working together is essential? Does it call forth our better angels? Does it hit too close to the bone?

Does it become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

I’m not one to ban art or limit free speech in any way, and yet where is the line between a movie and yelling “fire” in a crowded theater (an oft-used phrase that, while imperfect, captures a nuance in the free speech arena)?

Garland is playing with matches near a Tinder box.

I’ve been teaching in higher education for the past 15 years, and I always tell my students, “The future is unpredictable as leadership is always a wild card. You never know who will rise to the occasion.”

Maybe we need leaders in the world of art right now to help us envision a better future, to help us find a way out of this and help this nation dream again.

I’d like to see that movie drop in 2024.

What do YOU think? Please weigh in below in the comments section.


  1. As a black man in America, this is the last film I’d want to see come to the big screen in the mainstream or any stream. This is like the match that the film “Birth of a Nation” lit in terms of igniting fear in the hearts and minds of white people. Certainly this film will ignite all kinds of fear.

    In addition, I feel that the producers and directors under estimate the inspiration that this film will provide for the subversive movements that we’ve seen surface in recent years and continue to be identified by the FBI as the greatest threat to our national security. Stochastic terrorism could be the impact of this film and to me this become socially irresponsible for Hollywood, considering the political and social climate we are currently in.

    I totally agree with making films that engender hope, peace and love for all humankind.

  2. No offense, but I think you are focused on the wrong historical war. With all of the government tyranny being practiced lately, as in weaponizing the ever burgeoning federal government aparatus targeting citizens with opposing political views, I think it is more like 1773 than it is 1861.

  3. Trustbutverify is correct. It would not be a clear demarcation line. This brings the point that what most refer to as the Civil War was not a civil war. It was a war fought by a country against another set of nation states which seceded and created their own country. A civil war is a war fought by two factions who both desire control over a certain country. The south just wanted to leave, they didn’t want the north’s nation.

  4. Just as our military is accused of always preparing for the last war, the concept of secession by states is an outdated concept. Most cities are the proverbial blueberry in the cherry pie. Eastern Oregon, Washington and California want to secede from the blue governing control and become their own states. What would it look like if Illinois broke into Chicago and NotChicago? NYCMetro, and NotNYC. This may be a more peaceful alternative, more local representation. West Virginia was cut from Virginia so it has happened before. I’d rather see a movie about an event few have heard of, the Battle of Athens, Tennessee in 1946.

  5. The division is largely urban/rural and would be fought in the suburbs are the rural folks blockade the cities from receiving shipments of food, etc. and restrict their water and electricity supplies outside the cities. If you were really going to make a movie about this, you have to go into the varied daily wants/needs of these two groups which drive a lot of their belief in what government should/should not do.

    Don’t think that the military is somehow decisive, either, as most personnel will be on the rural side as will the National Guard. There are a lot of NG armories out there with all the weapons needed to feed vets the material they need to fight with.

  6. Too many make the mistake of thinking there are no conservatives in California. Step away from the “surfer dude” tropes you’ve been given from other states that have no idea what Californians are. Doing a state-by-state, “us versus them” thing is what is truly stupid, and too many conservatives are biting down on it.

    1. It’s not just ‘surfer dude tropes’ it’s your states representation in DC that most of the country makes their assumptions about the voter base there.

  7. You are right about we need to change the human frequency to positive as it has been negative for a long time now. We do need a heart-warming positive movie whose only agenda is to make people see the world in a better light, to have gratitude for the most mundane things in life, such as having a pair of shoes to slip on my feet in the morning.

    I don’t think this kind of movie is going to come from the people already established in the industry. This movie needs to come from the underdog, the people who have been overlooked for years. It will not take 1 person but a body of people who live that type of outlook on life to begin with.

    Just a few thoughts. Reach out if you think that any of this has validity.
    Have a blessed day!

  8. A national divorce NEEDS to happen – my prayer is that it won’t come down to this but our corrupted powers in DC will try not to let it happen. It will be a very dark time in America and world powers will be waiting to step in and grab whatever territory they can in the aftermath. (while being disguised as the UN)

    “From sea to shining sea” will no longer be possible.

  9. The author clearly does not know Texas. The “big cities” are more California-like than Texan. While Trump won in Texas 52 – 46 %, Dallas County (Dallas), Bexar County (San Antonio), Harris County (Houston), Tarrant County (Fort Worth), El Paso County (El Paso) , and of course the most liberal county in Texas, Travis County (Austin) all went to Biden. Those who assume the big cities of Texas are conservative are just misinformed. The Dems are working hard to flip Texas and if they succeed, no Republican will ever reside at 1600 Penn. Ave.

  10. 1. Communist California and Patriotic Texas will NEVER ally, I have lived for decades in both. And it fails to even consider that there are at least TWO other states separating them, typical 21st Century Hollyweird. Civil War is not the threat.
    2. IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!! That will be our downfall. You can no longer trust The National Debt Clock because the Biden administration manipulates the numbers. Our Debt to GDP ratio is probably well over 150% and climbing daily. The New World Order BRICS now includes Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Ethiopia, Egypt and UAE and are poised to take over the Global Currency Market with the GOLD BACKED Chinese Yuen. The US Dollar will become obsolete overnight, nations will dump TRILLIONS at 50-90% discount, we will see the biggest financial disaster in US history.
    3. When the Dollar crashes (and the US Government cannot even pay attention), what do you think the 11-20 MILLION Illegal Aliens carefully distributed throughout the country are going to do when their EBT cards and pre-paid cell phones quit working? Loot and Burn – NATIONWIDE ANARCHY. And the grossly undermanned “wokist” US military will not be able to cope at any level.
    It is happening right before our eyes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button