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A24’s new January 6 documentary feels like a real-life version of Civil War

Published May 6th, 2024 9:32PM EDT
Riot police in the US Capitol
Image: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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A24 is one of if not the hottest movie production company around at the moment, thanks to films like The Zone of Interest and Everything Everywhere All At Once. So when I saw that it was releasing a new documentary about the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, and that it was made by a pair of Oscar-winning filmmakers, that alone piqued my interest.

What I didn’t expect was to also be reminded so viscerally of A24’s still relatively recent drama Civil War while watching The Sixth. It’s as if the latter, in other words, depicts a real-life version of the former, and Civil War was already disturbing enough in the way it showed audiences a fictional version of the US ripped apart by an internal military conflict.

Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine are the husband and wife team behind The Sixth, which includes interviews with six people affected by the events of that day. They include police officers, a congressional aide, a photographer, and a congressman (Jamie Raskin), which helps the filmmakers achieve a difficult but satisfying balancing act — telling this story though a personal lens, rather than a political one.

“Every single one of our characters is serving the public in different ways,” Andrea Fine said, in an interview with Politico. “And so we love that idea of, what if you’re just coming to do your job, and you’re saddled with that, and how they came through.

“And their jobs ultimately, unexpectedly in some ways, became hopeful for the end of the film, because every single one of our six characters are still going to work every day to serve the public in their own way. And I think that gives hope, because I think people have lost a little bit of a compass about thinking that anything good can happen in government anymore, or in law enforcement or journalism.”

All that said, it’s a little baffling to me that A24 or whoever is handling the release of this documentary is doing so the way you would if you were embarrassed about it and going out of your way to make sure no one finds it. I got it from Apple’s VOD store, the erstwhile iTunes; reportedly, the original plan was for The Sixth to stream on Prime Video. At some point, that was changed to making the film only available to rent or buy, and no one seems to know why.

If this was an important enough story to make (and it definitely was), then it’s also important enough to make sure as many people see it as possible.

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.