• Civil War
    director Alex Garland emphasizes the movie’s political undertones that critics may have missed, allowing audiences to interpret the message themselves.
  • The film features a strong anti-white nationalism message and a stance against totalitarianism, portraying alliances that traverse traditional political divides.
  • Despite not conforming to typical left/right-wing political messaging, Civil War still conveys a message against political polarization within the country.



Civil War director Alex Garland believes that many critics are missing the point. In a movie about journalists working to document the events of a second American civil war, politics are an inherent element of the narrative. The United States has split into factions, with California and Texas forming the revolutionary Western Forces. The President, commander of the Loyalist States, stands against them as a totalitarian dictator in his third term in office.

Many of Civil War‘s reviews have deemed the movie apolitical, which has been frustrating Garland. In an interview with Inverse, Garland revealed that the movie certainly does have a massive political undertone. The message of the movie is not communicated directly, but he instead left audiences to decide the meaning for themselves. Check out his full explanation below:

People keep saying the film is not political. I think they’re just missing the point.
It’s just not stating politics in the way they want it to be stated. I thought, it’s actually not necessary because audiences ideally would make their own interpretation: ‘What threatens us? What is there around right now that might lead us to this place?’ And I leave that to them.

The Politics Of Civil War

Civil War Was Made For Anyone To Interpret

There is undoubtedly a massive political element in Civil War. One standout scene features a white nationalist demanding to know “what kind of American” the journalists are, while standing in front of a mass grave. The message against white nationalism is prevalent, as is the stance against totalitarian dictators who overstay their designated time in office. It also has a strong message against internal strife, as its argument against war also argues against political division and dehumanization. Lee’s journey especially speaks to that, especially given the shocking ending.


Civil War Ending Explained

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Every alliance in Civil War is a bizarre mixture of states that have little to do with each other in modern politics. California and Texas are allies, Washington and South Dakota are part of a strong alliance, the Florida alliance is entirely geographic, and New York is connected with Alaska, Hawaii, and Missouri. Geography somewhat relates to all these ties, but Republican and Democratic divisions are ignored. Blue and red states often connect with little regard for the divisions sewn by real-world elections. These ties are Garland’s way of avoiding overt political messaging.

Still, a movie about a civil war is inherently political. While the movie does not gravitate to the left- and right-wing style that has dominated modern America, it still has a serious political element. It is inherently against polarization, which still speaks about the division within the country today. By having Texas and California align, Garland ensured that all sides of the political landscape could recognize the message of the movie, while also having their own interpretation of the message. Civil War is political, but it does not follow the traditional model of Hollywood politics.

Civil War
is currently in theaters. It is not known when it will come to streaming platforms.

Source: Inverse

Civil War 2024 Movie Poster Featuring Fighters with Snipers Atop the Statue of Liberty

Civil War

Civil War is a 2024 action thriller from writer and director Alex Garland. Starring Kirsten Dunst, Wagner Moura, and Stephen McKinley Henderson, Civil War takes place in the near future and shows the United States entering a new Civil War after California and Texas attempt to separate from the country.

Release Date
April 26, 2024

DNA Films


Kirsten Dunst , Wagner Moura , Stephen McKinley Henderson , Cailee Spaeny , Jesse Plemons , Nick Offerman

109 Minutes

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