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If We Can’t Survive ‘Civil War,’ We’re Already Doomed

Dystopian thriller sparks mad conspiracy theories, cultural angst

Director Alex Garland’s “Civil War” is still more than a month away, but the online chatter over it has reached a fever pitch.

The film, co-starring Kirsten Dunst and “Parks & Recreation” alum Nick Offerman, takes place in the near-future when America is at war.

With itself.

The two trailers for the A24 release give little away about the story in question. We know that Offerman’s president is taking a stand, Texas and California have forged an unlikely alliance and the titular “War” is far from cold.

Guns. Tanks. Weapons. Bodies.

The title is the ultimate spoiler alert.


It didn’t take long for the liberal press to use the film as a cudgel against Red State America. Variety used several Tweets to frame the conversation as unhinged conservatives declaring war on the film, sight unseen.

The bulk of such reactions to Civil War seem to come from the left side of the political spectrum, and their take goes like this: Regardless of the film’s (presumably pro-unity) message, the film is uncomfortably timely and its “us vs. us” warfare will become MAGA fantasy fuel.

That story’s URL includes the phrase “MAGA violence.”


To be fair, a tiny fraction of conservatives has dubbed the film “predictive programming,” suggesting Garland and co. are setting the stage for a progressive hot war against conservatives via the film.

There’s a kernel of truth to the “Civil War” debate.

It’s an election year, and a film like this would have landed far differently a decade ago.

This year’s rematch between Presidents Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be as ugly as any contest in recent memory. The 2020 election may look quaint by comparison.

Remember how stores boarded up their windows before the 2020 election results? That wasn’t to prepare for a Biden victory.

Does anyone doubt a Trump win will be greeted by far-Left violence?

Violent Anti-Trump Protests Try To Steal Spotlight On Inauguration Day | NBC Nightly News

America, in too many ways, is a deeply divided nation. Every Thanksgiving we’re treated to think pieces on how to handle your problematic Uncle at turkey time.

Political differences have shattered more than a few friendships. Some family members no longer speak to each other over their political disagreements.

If you haven’t experienced either phenomenon consider yourself lucky.

Pop culture makes matters worse.

Celebrities and TV shows routinely demonize conservatives, from late-night talkers to “Saturday Night Live.” It’s hard to forget the time “SNL” depicted Trump supporters as racist, KKK-style members.


Voters For Trump Ad - SNL

And that was roughly eight years ago. Imagine what the show will uncork in the months to come.

News outlets do all they can to gin up hate and mistrust.

Remember how George Zimmerman, who fatally shot Trayvon Martin back in 2012, was dubbed a “white Hispanic” in the press to create a racial storyline where none existed?

Remember the media’s fake, “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative?

More recently, MSNBC rolled out the red carpet for the authors behind a new book claiming rural white men are the new threat to the American dream.

Celebrated director Rob Reiner’s latest project, “God & Country,” pulls a similar stunt against God-fearing Republicans.

Is it any wonder a film like “Civil War” has some folks on edge?

One thing is clear. We know nothing about the film. Zero. Nada.

We’re micro-examining the trailers for clues, but they’ve offered nothing of consequence. It’s clear Garland is a top-flight storyteller, witness bravura films like “Ex Machina” and “Annihilation.” He’s likely disinterested in a grindhouse assault on the senses, and he must know the delicate state of the nation.

The better artists grasp the culture at large and the timing of their art.

We’ve been done a similar road before, and culture didn’t handle it well.

The 2016 film “The Hunt” teased a frightening scenario. What if liberals captured a gaggle of conservatives and hunted them for sport?

That film arrived after Trump assumed office, and tensions were already white hot. Trump even weighed in on the film indirectly, making matters worse since no one had seen the film yet.

What happened next?

Two mass shootings roiled the news cycle and, before long Universal Pictures hit “pause” on “The Hunt’s” release schedule.

It was a sad moment for free speech, although not nearly as tragic as what we’re seeing now across the culture. Big Tech censorship, aided and abetted by Team Biden, should worry us all.

(That it doesn’t is another reason to despair the state of our Union.)

When “The Hunt” finally arrived in theaters most movie goers greeted it with a shrug. The story proved surprisingly bipartisan, with both sides of the political aisle taking their lumps.

The Hunt - Official Trailer [HD]

The big surprise? Betty Gilpin’s Red State warrior stole the film and emerged as its moral compass.

Looking back, conservatives who condemned the film without seeing it looked foolish.

Will history repeat itself with “Civil War?” Could it, too, be stricken from the release schedule a la “The Hunt?”

The Hollywood Reporter even suggested it shouldn’t debut so close to a presidential election – with a dash of Jan. 6 propaganda.

Still, after the Jan. 6 riots that attempted to decertify the 2020 presidential election and with the likelihood of a Joe Biden and Donald Trump rematch, some find it impossible not to see the movie as a pointed commentary on our current divisive times — regardless of its fictional premise — and question whether its release is appropriate seven months before the presidential election.

A few more adrenalized think pieces could make that a reality. Hollywood cowardice is the order of the day. Just ask Michael Rapaport, who can’t stop blasting celebrities for not speaking up on behalf of Israeli hostages.

Dunst offered one tease about the film, something that makes it more in line with “The Hunt” than some expect.

“I think it’s a cautionary tale, a fable of what happens when people don’t communicate with each other and stop seeing each other as human beings.”

One thing remains clear.

If America can’t handle a thriller packed with themes uncomfortably ripped from the headlines, there’s little need for a civil war, real or imagined.

We’ve already lost.

“Civil War” premieres at the SXSW TV & Film Festival next week and rolls out in theaters nationwide April 12.


  1. They will probably not give the reason why the war is happening. It’ll just be a backdrop while the main characters are on their way to Washington.

  2. I recently re-watched an HBO film from 1997 called “The Second Civil War.” Check it out if you haven’t. It’s a little odd and comedic but amazingly prescient and relevant for today. We’ve been predicting another civil war in America for almost as long as I can remember, and every year we seem to be closer to the brink. Civil war is possible, I suppose. But what we seem to be experiencing right now is a kind of civil Cold War, that’s getting more and more aggravated. Prager was right, the two sides can’t really come together yet. But history is unpredictable and has a crazy way of resolving things in unexpected ways. That other Cold War ended without the atomic war we dreaded. This one will end too in some way we’ll likely never foresee– for better or worse.

  3. “I think it’s a cautionary tale, a fable of what happens when people side with their big, authoritarian government to take away liberties, livelihoods and civil culture from normal, productive people.

  4. Perhaps I am in a minority, but both Annihilation and Ex Machina were awful films and lousy stories. I’m not impressed with Alex Garland in the slightest and considering the box office returns for both films, I know that I am not alone in that regard. That said, Christian Toto might want to take a moment to read Denis Prager’s March 5th opinion piece, “The Left-Right Divide Is Not Bridgeable.” I have been saying this for decades and people around me are starting to finally realize it. While people on the Right have been far too tolerant while people on the left talked about putting us in “re-education camps,” taking away our children and calling us monsters, that tolerance is ebbing. No one needs a movie to know a civil war is in the offing and you may recall this is not the first “civil war” movie to come out of Hollywood recently. This movie is just another masturbation piece for the Left, wishful thinking. The real one can not happen soon enough.

  5. I saw a funny meme that said: A new civil war would be fought between the people that legally own 300 million guns and the people that can’t figure out which bathroom to use. Should be over by lunch.

  6. I actually thought The Hunt was a pretty entertaining movie. Knowing who made it, I was willing to give it a chance, and I’m glad I did.

  7. We’ve already seen nationwide protests that destroyed communities in the last three years, anarchy and chaos without consequences. No one‘s afraid of a film.

  8. I just think, Alex Garland was high on cocaine, when he made these stupid decisions, and having the access media stirred up fear out of nowhere.

  9. 97% of America have never heard of this movie and never will. The only people who care about this movie are the smug up their own butts media people, over rated Hollywood hacks and corrupt government officials. These people have this weird fixation on each other, where as the rest of society does not care. I swear the only people who watch the news, pay attention to B level celebrity hacks and go to any of these websites are just insider hacks reporting on each other like mentally unstable junior high kids who think their every word is like gospel, when really no one even knows they exist. This movie will be released and not even be able to be forgotten because it was never known in the first place.

    Go to real America and you will find we do not care. We don’t care about The View, CNN, Fox News, late night TV or any of the has been actors running their mouth on Twitter. When Fox News leads the pack with 2 million people watching out of 350 million people in this country, know that your opinions and views are meaning less. CNN can’t even get half a million viewers.

    1. I wouldn’t compare a major Hollywood studio movie release with cable news. A lot more than 3 percent of the public will know about this flick. We are the United States of Entertainment.

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