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Carnage
BLU-RAY disk
04.11.2012 By: Jason Adams
Carnage order download
Director:
Roman Polanski

Actors:
Jodie Foster
Kate Winslet
John C. Reilly

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After their sons get in a playground fight, two sets of parents meet to discuss the situation and find they might have more conflict and grievances to air out than their children.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
It’s almost amazing that a movie based on an award-winning play, directed by Roman Polanski and starring four Oscar-caliber actors didn’t make a bigger splash upon its release. And it’s not because CARNAGE isn’t deserving—this is a masterfully written and acted dark comedy.

The film is incredibly reminiscent of WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF in terms of escalation, just lighter and less depressing. Polanski’s adaptation is very deliberate and completely nails the difficult tone of the source material. By the time the adults begin acting like the very children they’re arguing about, things become satiric and funny almost to the point of zaniness, but thankfully doesn’t cross the line in to parody. But all the uncomfortable hilarity has a very dark, dangerous and predictable undertone to it.

As the film is essentially just four people talking, it really hinges on the cast and Polanski summoned four great actors with electric chemistry who are perfectly suited for their roles. John C. Reilly spins off of his typical bufoonish nice guy persona and shows off some of the dramatic chops his career started with. Jodie Foster is his anal retentive, activist wife who sees herself as the strong matriarch. On the other hand, Kate Winslet is a simple housewife long dominated by her cell phone-obsessed husband, played by Christoph Waltz with the same comic menace he brought to INGLORIOUS BASTARDS. Together, the actors inhabit these characters who slowly begin to air out their very personal grievances about their relationships, families, belief systems and lives. Bonds are strengthened, people switch sides, allegiances fall apart—all in the name of exposing complete character flaws. The performances brim with tension and conflict at the surface and when it finally erupts it’s glorious. All Roman Polanski has to do is set the camera down and let it go.

That’s perhaps CARNAGE’s only weakness—it feels very much like a stage play. Everything takes place in real time in one location and I’m not sure the director brought enough to make it feel truly cinematic. Everyone is fantastic, but it definitely feels like an acting showcase and not really a filmic world you can get lost inside. However, the movie is short (under 90 minutes) and to the point. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and doesn’t really come to any conclusions for you, instead simply presents these people as they are, lays out all the cards and lets you read them as you would.
THE EXTRAS
Actor’s Notes (10:38): All four actors talk about the film, the characters and working with Polanski.

An Evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz (38:03): A lengthy, moderated onstage chat between the two actors, both of whom have crazy hair and seem like they’re high. It’s a little awkward and long, but there’s some solid info in there about the making of the film and Polanski’s method when it comes to directing.

On the Red Carpet (3:30): Some interviews and footage from the movie’s premiere.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
CARNAGE is a great character piece from master director Roman Polanski. Definitely deserved more attention and love than it received.

Extra Tidbit: The original Broadway production starred Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandolfini and Marcia Gay Harden.
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