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Watch a Sniper Scene From ‘Civil War’

In “Anatomy of a Scene,” we ask directors to reveal the secrets that go into making key scenes in their movies. See new episodes in the series on Fridays. You can also watch our collection of more than 150 videos on YouTube and subscribe to our YouTube channel.


In this sequence from the writer and director Alex Garland’s latest film, “Civil War,” about a modern-day conflict that has broken out in America, journalists making their way to Washington, D.C., stumble across a field set up with Christmas decorations. But the situation couldn’t be less festive. A sniper is set up in a house on a hill above the field. And men in uniform are trying to take the sniper down.

Discussing the scene and its surrealist imagery in his narration, Garland said that in scouting locations, he and his crew came across decorations that were intact more or less as you see them in the film. He said they initially belonged to a guy who’d put on a winter wonderland festival. People had not dug his winter wonderland festival and he’d gone bankrupt. And he decided just to leave everything just strewn around on a farmer’s field.”

Garland’s aim for the sequence, he said, was to show that “when things get extreme, the reasons why things got extreme no longer become relevant. And the knife edge of the problem is all that really remains relevant.”

Read the “Civil War” review.

Read an extensive interview with Alex Garland.

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