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February 14, 2012

Carnage (2011)
Director: Roman Polanski
Actors: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz

carnage-film-2011-300x225.jpg (300×225)

Synopsis: Well-to-do parents (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet) spend an excruciating afternoon in the apartment of bohemian couple (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster), after both couples’ sons have been involved in a nasty fight.

Review: Roman Polanski does a pretty good job of turning Yasmina Reza’s contemporary bourgeois farce into a diverting eighty minutes of cinema. Polanski doesn’t shy away from the inherent theatricality in the conceit of having four characters stuck in an apartment, and is wise to actually make a feature of it – allowing the strength of the writing and the actors to come to the fore. The screenplay is punctuated with just enough in the way of explosive physical moments and changes in character development to keep the set-up from becoming stale, and Polanski plays nicely on the knowingness of the film’s penned-in artificiality by engineering moments where Waltz and Winslet try to leave the apartment (but we as an audience know they will somehow be delayed because the film’s running time hasn’t elapsed).  If I was to nitpick, I would argue a braver approach might have been to amp up the theatricality even more – perhaps shooting the film in one take to increase the sense of time passing excruciatingly by, or through finding some other Brechtian conceit. Overall though, Carnage is a nice and intelligent little piece which seeks to bring the class of a good night out at the theatre to our cinema screens. (February 2012)

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