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Civil War: A Total Social Breakdown, From the Director of Annihilation

1/8/2024 • 4 min read

(Updated 04/10/2024)Civil War | Cinemark

This isn't a superhero battle. Filmmaker Alex Garland (ANNIHILATION, EX MACHINA) has conjured up a near-future sci-fi story in which America itself is torn apart once again. CIVIL WAR looks like a heady and frightening companion to the PURGE movies. It's got a powerful cast working with a director with an uncanny ability to create unforgettable images.

The first CIVIL WAR trailer got the conversation about Garland's new movie going in a big way, and it also left us with a lot of questions. Have a look at the footage, and we'll tell you everything you need to know about CIVIL WAR.

What's the Civil War Release Date?

A24 has set an April 12 release date for CIVIL WAR in movie theaters.

Watch the New Civil War Trailer

This trailer hits all the dire notes it reaches for — let's say that CIVIL WAR might not be a comfort viewing sort of movie. But it also looks surprising and not exactly like the kind of movie the title suggests, even as it appears to depict a total social breakdown in America.

Is Everything as it Seems in Civil War?

This is an important question. Alex Garland has made several movies in which the nature of reality inside the movie is far from certain — and in which the nature of the movie itself is not always readily apparent from the trailers. Take his last movie, MEN, for example. Trailers suggested a horrific conflict between genders and that is certainly an aspect of the film. But MEN was a lot more weird and difficult to pin down than that.

In CIVIL WAR, the character played by the top-billed actor is a journalist, which suggests that information is a weapon. Indeed, information is one of the primary means of warfare in any modern conflict, to the point where people are wise to question even the images which seem to clearly show action on either side of the conflict.

So how much of the conflict shown in the CIVIL WAR trailer and other marketing materials should we take at face value? After Garland's last few projects we're going to be cautious and wait for the movie.

Jesse Plemons in Alex Garland's Civil War

Who's in the Cast of Civil War?

CIVIL WAR features Kirsten Dunst as a reporter, and Nick Offerman in the role he was born to play: the President of the United States. Dunst's husband, Jesse Plemons, is also in the movie, and he is certainly part of one of the most attention-getting moments in the trailer.

The cast also features Wagner Moura, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Cailee Spaeny, Karl Glusman, Sonoya Mizuno, and Jonica T. Gibbs.

Jesse Plemons, The Meme King

Between his GAME NIGHT role a few years back, his recent work in KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON, and the first images from CIVIL WAR, Jesse Plemons has become an unlikely meme star. A picture of Plemons in character, holding his dog from GAME NIGHT, doesn't even need a dialogue caption to stand as a question about a company's policy. (For the record, that dialogue is "How can that be profitable for Frito-Lay?")

Now his gun-toting image from CIVIL WAR (above) is being mashed up with the "I've been sent down from Washington D.C. to see about these murders" scene from FLOWER MOON. Before the year is out you might be able to have a full conversation online using only Jesse Plemons moments and memes, and we're certainly all for that.

Alex Garland and Crew Reunite

Garland went into production on CIVIL WAR just after finishing MEN, and some of his key crew is back for this new outing. Cinematographer Rob Hardy, who also manned the camera for Garland's three previous films, and his series "Devs," is back. So too are composers Ben Salisbury and Geoff Barrow. We hope to learn more about the behind the scenes crew soon.


CIVIL WAR opens on April 12.


All images courtesy of A24.

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