HOLLYWOOD—I cannot tell you a movie that I have seen so potent, so visceral and in your face in decades. I am referring to the 2024 flick “Civil War.” I hate to say this, but it is the best movie of 2024, but I dare think of a flick that is going to outdo the emotional reaction this film is giving moviegoers. I mean with the political climate of America right now, “Civil War” feels like it was placing a spotlight DIRECTLY on America and foreshadowing what could happen with this upcoming Presidential Election if people just don’t accept the outcome.

Let me say this right now, try going into this movie knowing absolutely nothing because it is just going to intensify the ride that you take. This movie is really about photojournalists and the images they capture when it comes to war. Right now, America is at war, we don’t quite know WHY, but that is beyond the point. The filmmakers don’t want us to know why, but chaos is erupting all throughout the country, and you can’t help, but speculate as a viewer, WHY?

I have not seen acting of this magnitude from all of our main characters in cinema in a long time. Kristen Dunst is fantastic as veteran photojournalist Lee Smith. She is cold as hell at times, stoic, emotionally cut-off, but at the same time we get tender moments from the character. Dunst delivers a tour-de force performance that should be yielding her awards chatter in few months. Lee is a character that you admire for her expertise in the field, but also want to soften at times.

Then there is Cailee Spaney, who is really building a resume for herself. I cannot wait to see her in “Alien: Romulus” which arrives in theaters this August. She plays novice photojournalist Jessie Cullen, who has no idea what she is getting into despite being warned by her idol Lee. Jessie is a big portion of the narrative, a character who has no clue of the brutality of this industry, but someone who also frustrates you as a viewer. She does things that make you want to scream, but you understand why she is doing them.

The opening sequence involving Lee, Jessie and her colleague, Joel (Wagner Moura) and a suicide bombing is gripping, violent and scary as hell. Director Alex Garland utilizes sound in a way that is so genius. You’re not hearing things you think you should hear and you’re hearing things, but not seeing things you want to see. Garland is playing with your psyche, and he does it very interestingly. There are shots in the film where you don’t see vicious violence, you want to see it, but it’s almost better that you don’t get to experience it. Sometimes it is not what you see, but what you don’t see.

The scariest thing about this movie is I have no clue who the bad guys are and what their motive is. There is just war and there are lots of casualties along the way. Stephen McKinley Henderson as veteran journalist Sammy shines in the role that brings some levity to the seriousness of the movie. His comedic timing is spot on as the audience journeys with these four as they head to Washington D.C. to get an interview with the current U.S. dictatorial president portrayed by Nick Offerman.

There is a scene in this movie that is going to shock you; send chills down your spine and it involves Jesse Plemmons. It is short, but what Plemmons does with that character, I would not be stunned if he earned a Supporting Actor Oscar nomination as a result. That line he utters, “What type of American are you?” Like whoa, same with all the other spectators in the theater.

“Civil War” is so haunting, I have to see it a second time. Rarely do I watch dramas that are extremely heavy because of the emotional punch they deliver. It scared me, it really made me question what the hell would happen in the actual United States of America if it is at war with itself. We all hope it never happens, but the way things are politically right now, it is anyone’s guess.