A comedy of manners from director Roman Polanski shows what happens when two sets of parents come together to civilly work out a confrontation between their sons. As the encounter stretches on their true feelings bubble to the surface and hilarity follows.
The son of Michael (John C. Reilly) and Penelope (Jodie Foster) Longstreet was hit in the mouth by the son of Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz) Cowan. The couples have gathered at the Longstreets so that they can discuss the confrontation between their sons. They do so with some civility, but as the evening progresses the couples begin to express their true feelings.
Carnage springs from a stage play called the God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza. Its origins are pretty obvious as most of the action takes place in the Longstreet’s apartment and is basically a war of words between the two couples. Allegiances shift around as the couples begin to bring things out about one another, but it really seems to be a war of manners and sexes.
Reilly is a likeable fellow who is trying to get along with these strangers flung into his midst, Foster is his high-strung wife who is having trouble with the help, Winslet and Waltz is the more erudite couple but they’re having marriage troubles as well as constant interruptions by Waltz’s cell phone. As the encounter stretches on, more conflicts come out and maybe even more truths are revelations are plied out by alcohol and cobbler.
Well, the cobbler only produces a torrent of vomit that disfigures Foster’s beloved art books. She a goody two shoes that thinks herself an intellectual but is more interested in writing about these things than doing anything about it. Waltz is a lawyer so he’s familiar with being two-faced and is in the middle of it by trying to control a story about a client, hence his constant phone calls.
Though at times, the men come together against the women but everyone changes sides at least once during this fraught afternoon. It’s a four person show and each one has a moment to shine although I found Foster a bit shrill. They start off trying to get along but soon they start to get on each other’s nerves and tell it like it is and that’s when the fun starts.
Carnage is presented in a 1080p transfer (2.35:1). Special features, presented in high definition, include 10 minutes of “Actor’s Notes” from each of the four leads, the 38 minute “Evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz” Q&A, the 3 minute “On the Red Carpet” look at the premiere, and the 2 minute theatrical trailer.
Carnage is a comedy of manners and is slyly funny. Most of the fun comes from the four people trapped by circumstance in a tiny apartment. Their meddling really comes of nothing as we see that the children work out their problems with a bit more civility than their parents but we enjoy watching the adults try.
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