Don’t See ‘Civil War.’ But ‘The Hunt’ Deserves a Second Look

A scene from the 2020 film "The Hunt."

By John Zmirak Published on April 22, 2024

The trailer was gripping and haunting: A spectacle of American cities bombed and blasted like those in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s by internecine fighting. Intrepid reporters negotiating their way between the factions. Deep-seated hatreds arising from core differences of worldview finally exploding into war.

All those things were what the trailer for Civil War promised. It all seemed so eerily plausible, after we endured the one-sided civil conflict the left waged against Americans all through 2020.

So I dragged myself to see it, steeling my soul for a scathing drama about the conflict between America’s increasingly irreconcilable regions and religions — though doubtless one biased in favor of the left. (The things I do for you, readers.)

Keep Quiet and Root for the “Villains”

But Civil War (now in theaters) delivered none of those things. Not the drama, not the pathos, not even the politics. This is perhaps the only time I’ll say this, but I was actually disappointed this wasn’t a piece of leftist propaganda. I have learned how to sit through those: Keep quiet, and root for the “villains.” But there were no villains here, nor any heroes, nor even any protagonists — just some jaded, quasi-sociopathic journalists wandering the front lines of a conflict, trying to score the best “death porn” photos.

Really. The movie is meant (I think) as a paeon to the courage and tough-mindedness of frontline combat reporters. But even on that front it fails: The journalists ask no questions, don’t dig for the truth, and don’t even really seem interested in what’s behind the conflict.

Therefore, neither are we.

The Orcs and the Ents Team Up to Attack Sauron in Mordor

The film’s fantastical premise is that a megalomaniacal president refuses to leave the White House. So the perfectly natural coalition of California and Texas team up and secede from the Union — then lead an overwhelming military offensive against Washington, D.C. The full force of the U.S. military is on the side of the rebels, who are faced only by lightly armed civilians and some hapless Secret Service agents. Why didn’t the director also throw into this coalition both Tolkien’s orcs and ents, and have their “Western Alliance” converge on Mordor to capture Sauron? It would have been no more implausible, and infinitely more entertaining.

There isn’t even any suspense; the war is almost over, and only the delusional guy in the Oval Office refuses to accept that fact. So these journalists are willing to risk their lives to enter besieged D.C. to interview the Grandstander-in-Chief before he dies in his bunker. That’s the entire plot.

Are you riveted yet? Neither was I, and neither were left-wing film critics, who’d hoped for something like Saving Private Ryan, except with Republicans and Christians standing in for the Nazis. Disappointed movie reviewers are slamming the director for not providing such a satisfying spectacle. For that at least, I applaud him.

The Hunt Was a Right-Wing Movie. Too Bad We Trashed It

Enough already about this movie which claimed two hours of my life that I’ll never have back. Instead of just filling in a thousand words about a movie you need to avoid, I decided to use this column for good: to compare and contrast Civil War with another movie savaged by critics — this time both left and right.

I’m talking about the 2020 film The Hunt, starring Hillary Swank, available on Amazon. You might remember it as the piece of murderous left-wing propaganda that advocated leftist elites hunting “deplorables” ala “The Most Dangerous Game.” A movie so outrageous that protests by conservatives got it pulled from theaters.

If that’s how you remember things, then congratulations: You got played.

In fact, The Hunt is a film I could have written myself. Had Steve Bannon produced it and Elon Musk bankrolled it, the film wouldn’t be any different. Yes, it depicts leftist elites kidnapping patriots and Christians, demeaning them as “rednecks” and “racists,” then hunting them like deer. That’s the only part critics (including conservative kneejerkers) got right about the movie. If you don’t believe me, go to Rotten Tomatoes and read all the negative reviews by liberal film critics condemning The Hunt because it isn’t endorsing such a slaughter.

In fact, the film is a savage, dead-on accurate satire of those elitists. It exposes the blue-state millionaires, who fly private planes and sip vintage champagne while plotting mass murder, as monstrous hypocrites deluded by toxic self-righteousness. Their woke ideology comes across as no more appealing than the broadcasts of Jim Jones from Guyana. They even call each other “Comrade,” like old-line commies.

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By contrast, the conservatives in the film appear to be slightly naïve — maybe a tad narrow-minded on certain issues, but otherwise decent people. At times they might seem paranoid, except that the left really is out to get them — using rifles, landmines, poison gas, and countless other less-than-sporting methods.

The film is rated “R” since it’s brutally violent and verbally profane, so I am precluded from recommending it here. However, I will say it would be a real shame if conservatives got out there and made this film a belated success just because it serves as a brilliant and dead-on accurate depiction of how hateful our enemies are — at the very time those enemies are trying to lock peaceful pro-lifers and January 6 protestors into prison for decades, and lawlessly keep the opposition candidate off the ballot.

If suddenly millions of patriots were streaming and sharing The Hunt with their fellow voters, such an outcome would be … deplorable.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or coauthor of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. His upcoming book is No Second Amendment, No First.

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