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‘War Game’ Review: Intense Documentary Foresees a Future Incident

‘War Game’, a recent documentary by directors Tony Gerber and Jesse Moss, takes a chilling look at a possible future for American democracy. Premiering at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival, the film isn’t a work of pure fiction, but rather a dramatised simulation based on the events of the 6th January 6th 2021 attack on the US Capitol. 

‘War Game’ asks a terrifying question: what if the attack had escalated further, plunging the country into a state of civil war?

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The documentary utilises a docudrama format, interspersing real-life footage from 6th January with dramatised scenes that depict a more violent and widespread insurrection. Actors portray high-ranking government officials and military personnel grappling with the deteriorating situation. These dramatisations, while fictional, are grounded in expert analysis and interviews with national security professionals.

The film’s central narrative follows a tense, six-hour Situation Room simulation. Key decision-makers within the US government face a series of increasingly difficult choices as the fictionalised insurrection unfolds. National Guard deployment, troop movements, and potential responses from armed militia groups all come into play, creating a palpable sense of tension and urgency.

Image Courtesy: Yahoo News

‘War Game’ doesn’t shy away from portraying the potential consequences of a fractured democracy. Scenes depicting violence erupting across the country, government institutions under siege, and communication breakdowns paint a stark picture of a nation on the brink of collapse. The film’s effectiveness lies in its ability to feel both hypothetical and frighteningly plausible.

While some might criticise the dramatised elements, they serve a purpose. By going beyond the real-world events of 6th January, ‘War Game’ forces viewers to confront uncomfortable possibilities and consider the fragility of American democracy. The film serves as a stark warning, highlighting the potential consequences of political polarisation, misinformation, and the erosion of trust in institutions.

-Sushmita Sarkar

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