Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Civil War is a swashbuckling movie, but it's not prophetic

I caught the matinee showing of Civil War yesterday. It's a thrilling movie with several flaws, but well worth seeing. I have two criticisms.

First, director Alex Garland’s dystopian film posits a civil war between the United States and the Western Forces, comprised of the rebel states of Texas and California. Both sides field conventional armies equipped with jets, helicopters, tanks, and armored vehicles.

This scenario is implausible. If the United States implodes, it won't be because Texas and California fight a conventional war against the federal government. America will likely fall apart due to an external shock administered by hostile foreign powers—Russia, China, or Iran. Our enemies will not conquer us with missiles. Instead, our country will fall apart when our adversaries destroy the dollar's status as the world's reserve currency and our economy collapses.

Second, Alex Garland’s apocalyptic tale is told from the perspective of journalists who risk their lives and the lives of other people to get shocking photographs of the carnage of war. In the movie’s concluding scene, photojournalists Lee and Jesse are seen scurrying behind an Abrams battle tank in an attack on the White House. They come across as adrenalin junkies fanatically obsessed with their careers. I found them totally unsympathetic.

I encourage people to see Civil War. It is an entertaining movie on the level of the Indiana Jones flicks and the Mission Impossible series. Just remember this: America will not unravel because Texas and California besiege the White House; it will crumble when McDonald’s hamburgers cost fifty bucks apiece, and nobody wants to buy U.S. Treasury bonds.

Photojournalists chasing a Pulitzer Prize

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