Civil War

A Marine's and photographer's take on Civil War

The Virtuous Pornographer

5/13/20243 min read

As this film prepares to arrive on streaming services, the most important thing to know about this film is that it's not about an American Civil War. This film is a piece about Combat Correspondants, you know just like in the film FULL METAL JACKET only there are no Joker, no Rafterman, no Cowboy, 8-ball or Animal Mother. The correspondents are civilians who are veterans of conflict around the globe that is all except for one, a young lady who is trying to earn her bones and latches onto her idol played by Kirsten Dunst. The conflict is only a backdrop to a "passing of the torch" film.

The next thing you need to know is that it's a good film although many are disappointed that it doesn't directly deal with the politics of the event. As it is about combat photographers (who yours truly enlisted in the Marines to become), the film features some real cinematic photography at points and is often punctuated by black and white stills of the frames the characters capture during their odyssey of traveling from New York City to Washington D.C., circumventing war-torn Philly by circling through West 'by God' Virginia. I especially liked the scene where the quartet are near Pittsburgh and one of the overpasses they drive under is emblazoned with a "Go Steelers" tag. As a big fan of the Black and Gold, I immediately yanked out my peckerwood and shouted "Go Steelers!" as I stroked it to fruition. Truly we are a Steelers Nation.

Roger Ebert scribes a very good review of this film, free of spoilers which is unusual for his style. He loved it and says he did so so that People would not know what to expect when watching. Smart move. It's a very provocative and exciting piece but maybe I'm partial as it really hit home for me in more ways than one. Of course Roger Ebert is a professional and I'm just a hack so I defer to his prose. Many other reviews make the mistake of trying to press comparisons to Trump to the President portrayed in the film - a character that is only in two scenes with bookend the film. He is described as 'fascist' when in all reality nothing is really said about him or his politics. This is an interesting thing as it subtly shows where we are in reality where the critique of a piece of fiction is used to forward political opinions. From what I've seen, the reviews that pan the film do so because the author is upset that the film didn't directly speak to contemporary American politics or support the defeat of one faction by the other. It's almost as if the American Civil War is treated as one that is occurring in Africa or South America where we see images of death and atrocities reported but in the end still don't have any real information about how things started, what factions are what, whether it's the good guys who are winning, or any knowledge of who really is supporting and financing the opposition and what their goals are. There is no political closure here because it's not about politics, it's about a young Woman who seeks to fulfill her career and life dreams under the wing her idol and finds the courage to do so under the most difficult and dangerous of circumstances. It's a film about Courage - something we, all of US, will need when the Day of Days happens.

Coolest thing about the film...the Boogaloo Boys get their own sequence.