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Like Alex Garland’s Civil War? Then watch these 3 great movies now

A woman stands in front of lights in "Civil War."
A24 / A24

Although it’s not a direct analog for today’s tense political climate, Civil War is undoubtedly going to touch a nerve as people across the country watch it. Ex Machina director Alex Garland’s latest directorial effort seems focused on dissecting exactly how people become so convinced that other people are their enemies.

The movie’s political subject, as well as its pervading mood of tension, make it the kind of watch that gets under your skin and leaves you thinking about it for weeks afterward. If you’re trying to chase that feeling, we’ve assembled three other movies that do similar things, even if they don’t have all the same subject matter.

Hotel Rwanda (2004)

Hotel Rwanda (2005) | Official Trailer | MGM Studios

It’s a little more sentimental than Civil War, but Hotel Rwanda gets at the madness that comes when groups of people let tension boil over into violence. The movie chronicled the Rwandan genocide via the story of a hotel manager who tries to save as many lives as possible. It is is a deeply stressful watch, and a reminder of the horrors that people are capable of.

Don Cheadle received an Oscar nomination for his performance, and he anchors this film from beginning to end. Hotel Rwanda may not be quite as thrilling as Civil War, but if you marveled at the tension of that film, Hotel Rwanda will give you the same feeling.

Hotel Rwanda is streaming for free on Tubi.

City of God (2002)

City of God | Official Trailer (HD) - Alice Braga, Seu Jorge | MIRAMAX

A riveting social drama that was a phenomenon upon its release, City of God tells the story of two young boys who take very different paths in life as they come of age in Rio de Janeiro’s poorest community. Outbreaks of violence occur frequently and almost at random, and City of God thrives on the same kinds of tense interactions that give Civil War its life.

This is a movie where many characters never know what to say, and find themselves in an environment where there is simply no right answer. It’s been hailed as a masterpiece ever since it was released, and it’s not hard to understand why.

City of God can be rented or purchased on Amazon Prime Video.

Munich (2005)

Munich (2005) Theatrical Trailer

A politically fraugh,t but hugely important movie, Steven Spielberg‘s Munich chronicles Israel’s actions in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics, when 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were killed. What starts out as something of a spy thriller evolves into a complex morality tale as the agents tasked with seeking revenge on behalf of their country begin to question whether there’s any morality behind what they’ve been tasked with doing.

Munich was made in the aftermath of 9/11, and it’s not shy about connecting itself to the politics of that moment. Twenty years later, though, Munich feels even more directly related to the current political climate than it did when it was first released.

Munich can be rented or purchased at Amazon Prime Video.

Editors' Recommendations

Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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