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FTN reviews Roman Polanski’s Carnage

January 29th, 2012 by Big Phil 1 Comment


Carnage (15)
Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly and Christoph Waltz
Running Time: 80mins

Two pairs of parents hold a cordial meeting after their sons are involved in a fight, though as their time together progresses, increasingly childish behaviour throws the meeting into chaos.

Zachary Cowan and his 11-year-old school friend Ethan Longstreet have an argument in a New York park which ends with Zachary hitting Ethan with a stick and injuring him in the face.

Ethan’s parents Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C Reilly) invite Zachary’s parents Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christopher Waltz) to their apartment in order to “civilly” come to some sort of compromise and hopefully get an apology from Zachary.

What starts off as good intentions by Penelope and Michael quickly deteriorates as both couples divulge more than they were prepared to as the afternoon progresses as they search for an apology…

Penelope played by Jodie Foster is a shop assistant come writer who is trying to put the world to right via mediation and recognition of the third world. Michael, played brilliantly by John C Reilly is a husband who willingly goes along with whatever his wife wants, that is until she “pushes that button.”

Nancy, played with a convincing American accent by Kate Winslet is an investment broker who tries to accommodate Penelope and Michael but is fighting a losing battle not only with them, but also her husband. Alan, played by Christopher Waltz is a lawyer who is in the middle of the biggest case of his career and who is more interested in his work life than family life.

Carnage is based on the French play “Le Diue du Carnage” and it’s easy to see that it has transitioned from the stage to screen easily with care and perfection. Director Roman Polanski has created a very simple film; take four actors/actresses and place them in an apartment and let their talents speak for themselves. Carnage is a character film, pure and simple.

The entire film takes place in the apartment with the four parents simply talking. There are no car chases, no explosions or robots or invaders from another planet. Just the four characters and one superb script that will have you laughing throughout the film’s fairly short running time.

The screenplay, written by Yazmina Reza, who also wrote the play, has created something wonderful for the screen. All of the actors/actresses are on top form and it’s hard to single out a specific performance as they each nail their characters perfectly which is largely down to Roman Polanski’s superb direction.

Engaging dialogue interspersed with heartfelt truths, anger and quick and very witty retorts, Carnage is the perfect movie to see if you are in need of a laugh and especially if you are thinking of getting married.

Phil Wilce
4 out of 5 Nerds

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I arrived on Earth in 1977 and have virtually devoted my entire existence to cult films, television programmes and cartoons. I am a very big fan of Star Wars and Star Trek; I may struggle with foreign languages but I can order live Gagh in Klingon! I’m the Nerd that knows the trivia but I’m hopeless at sport!

  • Ronan

    Nice review Phil. I’m working on my own take on the fil so it helps to get a ‘nerd’s eye view’ of proceedings. Thanks for this, R.

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