The Civil Hoax: Civil War Deniers

Filmmaker Jon Silver lampoons Americans’ ignorance of their own history with this half-baked mockumentary, which presents interviews with various dumbbells and conspiracy theorists who claim the Civil War never happened. The young witnesses—identified in onscreen titles as “self-educated historian,” “amateur rocket scientist,” “19th-century combat expert,” and so on—offer alternative histories that Abraham Lincoln was controlled by space aliens and that the war was only camouflage for “a four-year frat party” orchestrated by former Greek brothers Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee. Some of these quick hits are funny, but Silver and his cowriter, Joseph Gartner, haven’t really thought through their premise (if the war was never fought, why are there no slaves now?) and contradict it visually with frequent insert shots of Civil War reenactors in the field. A voice-over narrative provides factual information about the war for the benefit of viewers so clueless they might buy the space aliens.