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Lock Roman Polanski in a room and he'll make the most out of it. Save for some single-shot bookends set in a park, all of Carnage takes place in the Brooklyn apartment of conciliatory liberals Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly), whose boy was beaten by the son of finance-pharmaceutical power couple Nancy and Alan Cowan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz). Their real-time we-can-work-it-out meeting slowly devolves from coffee-and-cobbler pleasantries to vomit-and-insult-hurling invective. "I wipe my ass with your human rights," screams a tipsy Winslet—just one of the many quotable lines transposed from Yasmina Reza's hit play God of Carnage. The horror of this highly entertaining piece comes from the very potent sensation that these so-called adults are doomed to repeat this irresolvable scenario ad nauseam—while the outside world moves on.—KU

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New York Film Festival 2011

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