Carnage

"Excellent"

Carnage Review


Based on Reza's play God of Carnage, this claustrophobic film features only four characters in a single New York apartment. But the acting and directing, as well as a fiendishly entertaining script, make it absolutely riveting.

After their 11-year-old sons are involved in a playground fight, their parents meet to make sure everything is fine. Penelope and Michael (Foster and Reilly), parents of the injured boy, are happy to let bygones be bygones until they begin to suspect that Nancy and Alan (Winslet and Waltz) aren't properly punishing their son. Over the course of the next hour or so, liaisons shift as their civilised surface gives way to seething bitterness. And it certainly doesn't help that they open a bottle of Scotch.

Nothing about this sounds very cinematic: four people in one room bickering, bonding and bickering some more. And indeed, the script is fairly theatrical as it circles and pounces on big issues, pushes each of the characters to the limit and seeks to provoke rather than explain. But Polanski creates a set that allows for remarkably clever camera movement, as we share the characters experience of being stuck in this place. And this gives the actors space to create memorable interaction.

The standouts are the women, who are more expressive as mothers concerned about fiercely protective of their children, and also annoyed with their husbands.

Liberal-minded writer Foster is like a wounded tiger, holding back until she has no choice but attack and draw blood. In a role that has more kick than when the play was first staged in 2006, Winslet is an investment banker who's trying to keep the peace, at least until she gets a stomach bug (perhaps from Penelope's cobbler?). Meanwhile, Waltz is a lawyer who is constantly on his mobile and Reilly is a salesman whose hatred of hamsters causes another ruckus.

This blackly hilarious script is packed with attempts to be polite ("We are not going to get into these children's quarrels"), backhanded judgements and, eventually, open hostility. A continual stream of running gags keeps us laughing because they're both hilarious ("Doodle" vs "Darjeeling") and brutally real ("Why does everything have to be so exhausting?"). And as the hysteria escalates, it's only comical because of what it reveals about each of us.



Carnage

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th November 2011

Box Office USA: $2.5M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Production compaines: Constantin Film Production, Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Fresh: 124 Rotten: 50

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Said Ben Said

Starring: as Nancy, as Penelope, as Alan, John C. Reilly as Michael

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.