January 6: dramatization “War Game” presents Sundance with a “terrifying” warning. On January 6, 2025, the US president watches in dismay as his opponent, who lost by a slim margin, demands that the military assist in overturning the “fraudulent” election outcome. The scene is from the new documentary “War Game,” which had its world premiere on Tuesday at the Sundance film festival. In it, actual former military and government officials participate in an unplanned role-playing exercise where they pretend to launch another attack on the Capitol.
However, the scenario is not that outlandish for its directors; it is a reenactment of the events of January 6, 2021, with the exception that renegade soldiers and police defect and join protests that eventually spread throughout the country. Co-director Jesse Moss remarked, “It’s terrifying how timely the film continues to become.” “And I am concerned about the timeliness of it in a year.”
In the movie, Steve Bullock, a former governor of Montana, plays the US president, who has six hours to decide how to handle the coup attempt that is getting worse. Real-life US senators, CIA and FBI agents, military colonels, and a former NATO commander serve as his advisors.
They meet in a lavish war room (inspired by the set design of Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove”) where they are updated via social media, a fake rolling news channel, and intelligence briefings. Bullock told AFP, “For six hours, this was a real experience for all of us.” “It was an anxious atmosphere… no one was considering the presence of the cameras,” he continued.
Concurrently, a fictitious paramilitary organization known as the “Order of Columbus,” portrayed by former US veterans, has assembled in another location, spreading misinformation on the internet and inciting soldiers to disobey orders. The three US generals who wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post in 2021 alerting readers to the rise of radicalism in the armed forces and advising them to get ready for a potential uprising following the 2024 election served as the initial impetus for the role-playing exercise.
It stated, “A troubling number of veterans and active-duty military personnel participated in the attack on the Capitol.” The generals wrote, “It cannot be dismissed that rogue units may organize among themselves to support the ‘rightful’ commander in chief.”
The exercise was decided upon by Vet Voice, a foundation that advocates for US military veterans and their families. They consented to let the documentary’s cameras inside, and they gave the Pentagon, Congress, and White House a report on the drill. Vet Voice CEO Janessa Goldbeck stated, “The only response they have received from the US administration is a ‘thank you.'” “A large number of people in the administration are engaged in this project. However, it’s debatable,” she remarked. “There’s a lot of pushback that talking about this issue is disrespectful to our veterans and our troops,” Goldbeck continued.
“War Game” debuted on the same day as the New Hampshire primary, where predictions indicate that Donald Trump will easily defeat his lone rival and advance toward securing the Republican presidential nomination. Furthermore, it is difficult to ignore the former president’s influence on the events even though “War Game” employs fictitious candidates.
Two “advisors” bring up the former president at one point in the conversation about whether to use the Insurrection Act, which gives the president the authority to use federal troops to enforce the law. If Trump is reelected to a second term, he has alluded to the military’s potential for increased role in American society. —AFP
In addition, he is going to trial for trying to influence the outcome of the 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden. The film’s directors note that bipartisan leaders from both sides of the aisle participated in the role-play exercise, and that Trump was “on the periphery” at the time.
Political polarization and “the alternate reality that some people seem to inhabit… transcend Donald Trump” are some of the factors that, according to Moss, drove the events of January 6, 2021. He stated, “But Trump has taken center stage.” “And I believe that the dangers we depict in the movie are severe, horrifying, and extremely genuine.” -AFP