Carnage

Film

Drama

John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in Carnage

John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet in Carnage

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5
Rate this
 

Time Out says

Mon Sep 26 2011

Where the suburban sitcom flirts with Michael Haneke: this comic miniature sees Roman Polanski bring his knack for claustrophobic dramas played out in enclosed spaces (a recurring interest from ‘Knife in the Water’ to ‘The Ghost’, via ‘Repulsion’ and ‘The Tenant’) to French writer Yasmina Reza’s play ‘The God of Carnage’, moving the action from bourgeois Paris to middle-class Brooklyn.

It’s a captive, caustic exercise in confinement and hysteria as a couple, Nancy (Kate Winslet), a personality-free, high-flying financial type, and Alan (Christoph Waltz), a harried executive, come knocking at the home of Penelope (Jodie Foster), a self-consciously liberal writer, and Michael (John C Reilly), an amiable peddler of ‘flush mechanisms’, to discuss a fight between their kids. Each couple attempts diplomacy, but words become weapons, prejudices rise to the surface and the evening collapses into a storm of anger, vomit, drunkenness and violence.

It’s an acting face-off, yet Polanski harnesses any thespian one-upmanship to make it integral to each character’s need to dominate a deteriorating scenario. Each of our four victims – and Reza and Polanski are unforgiving – enacts a primal power dance around the apartment. The film threatens to run away with itself: the third act feels accelerated and mannered compared to more sly gear changes earlier on. Yet Waltz steals the show with a crowd-pleasing embrace of his character’s weasel wit and amoral attitudes. He has one of the best lines, too, when he half-smiles at Foster, who is forever beating a progressive drum, and quips: ‘I saw your friend Jane Fonda on TV the other day.’ Brief, brutal and barmy.

0

Reviews

Add +

Release details

UK release:

2011

Duration:

79 mins

Users say

0
<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|16
1 person listening
Lara

This film made me very angry. Great actors and a great director but between them all nobody seemed to give a shit that the whole film was based on a shockingly bad premiss. Are we really to believe that Winslet and Waltz's characters were going to be tempted back into the house of these neurotically dull maniacs on the promise of a 'coffee', a 'real coffee' or piece of fucking cobblers? The characters hated each other and rightly so, and if Waltz's character was so amoral and socially uncompromising (interrupting the flow of conversation continually to hold business calls) as a guest in somebody else's house, surely there would have been no social obligation on his part to negotiate some kind of understanding with the Longstreets in the first place? Twelve Angry men is one of my favourite dramas. The fact that the film is played out successfully in a single setting is a testimony the strength of the script, the story and the performances. Jody Foster has also proved she can sustain a film like Panic Room which is largely set in one scene through an amazing performance. Carnage , however is an absolute insulting pile. Yes, the idiosyncratic speech is well observed, the social commentary is interesting but how can such an obvious lack of truth to the core of the story not bother everybody the way it bothered me? How can a film where all the time you're thinking....you know you could just leave and never see these arse holes again...not undermine the absolute enjoyment of the film? I can't understand how a film with an unbelievable premiss gets a four or five star review. I can see how this may work as a play - one frequently excuses a poor or compromised story at the theatre for the enjoyment of an in depth character portrait but if it's great theatre on Film you want watch Mike Leigh not this crap. This made me angrier than any film i've seen.

Joe quinlivan

This may well have worked as a play but is a disaster as a film.Contrived conversation about nothing.do not waste your time or money

Peter Ludbrook

I was intrigued to see how Polanski would film four characters on a single set and retain my interest. I was even more intrigued when I discovered it was shot in widescreen. In the event it worked very well and It's a tribute to how well Polanski was taught at the Lodz Film School all those years ago. It helped to have four splendid actors bouncing off one another. The film was very funny but often quite painful to watch as alliances shifted and the hitherto unspoken tensions between the characters were revealed. The only scene I felt ambivalent about was the last one where the two boys were seen to make up. I'm sure that's how it would have happened but not convinv=ced we needed to see it. Others may well feel very diferently about it.

Peter Ludbrook

I was intrigued to see how Polanski would film four characters on a single set and retain my interest. I was even more intrigued when I discovered it was shot in widescreen. In the event it worked very well and It's a tribute to how well Polanski was taught at the Lodz Film School all those years ago. It helped to have four splendid actors bouncing off one another. The film was very funny but often quite painful to watch as alliances shifted and the hitherto unspoken tensions between the characters were revealed. The only scene I felt ambivalent about was the last one where the two boys were seen to make up. I'm sure that's how it would have happened but not convinv=ced we needed to see it. Others may well feel very diferently about it.

Blaize67

A masterpiece from Polanski. Absolutely brilliant performances from all concerned. It may be when the Cobbler comes out, or the hamster story, or when the Blackberry gets drowned, or when the whisky is flowing or when Foster "doesn't need to be appreciated" but you will laugh. The audience in the showing I went to were cackling away. One of the top 5 movies this year. Superb. Highly recommended.

Blaize67

A masterpiece from Polanski. Absolutely brilliant performances from all concerned. It may be when the Cobbler comes out, or the hamster story, or when the Blackberry gets drowned, or when the whisky is flowing or when Foster "doesn't need to be appreciated" but you will laugh. The audience in the showing I went to were cackling away. One of the top 5 movies this year. Superb. Highly recommended.

good enough

Saw the play a few years ago with Ralph Feinnes and Ken Stott. It was better on stage, although I thought it actually worked here to an extent. The audience in the cinema I was in were hooting with laughter! It wasn't exactly a hoot, but there were some funny moments, though the contrived circumstances seem more contrived on screen than on stage.

Tony

This is the only film my wife a I ever walked out half-way though, we hated it.

Paul

I was reminded of Patrick Bateman without a nail gun and didn't go for the addict idea as Brandon seemed more like a (Wolfean) 'Master of the Universe' with their normal sex-drive. The ending does spoil a good film and suggest Jidro see Ai no korrida before deciding if see is old enough to see 18 films, otherwise best stick to PG. Forgetting Polanski's unpunished 1977 brutal rape of a 13-year old girl he had drugged that has been reported elsewhere, let's focus on his film instead.  Polanski brings Abigail's Party up to date by setting it in modern America, a country he has never visited since going on the run.

mister_x

im not a big winslett fan - shes such a 'big' actress most of the time, but this is a great film, even if it doesnt end up quite as satisfactorily as you hope. the realisations they make arent as great or huge as you might hope for. it actually ends on a lighter note than it could have. but the writing is great.

Emily

A very disappointing, dated film, despite very good actors. A waste of time.

Alex Barclay

John O Sullivan needs his head, ears and eyes examined. He also needs to learn more about film. His complaint about the film's length is nonsense: the average Hollywood blockbuster is c. 1 hour 10- 20 mins or 70-80 mins, so at 84 mins this is spot on and we get out money's worth of celluloid. The comment about 'unrealistic' dialogue is also dumber than dumb: since when did film talk ever have to be be realistic?? So a proper review: if you like film dramatisations of droll and lively plays this is as grown up and funny a one as you're likely to see for a while. Polanski gives his actors real freedom too and clearly they love it. We do too. Go see.