Carnage – Review

Carnage – Review

Carnage Review by FilmFella Henry – 7.5/10

I’ve always been a fan of limited location character dramas. When done well, they can bring out the best in an actor and often feature, by necessity, a strong script. After a brief stint with mediocrity (The Ghost, Oliver Twist), Roman Polanski has returned to fundamentals with Yasmina Reza’s stage play adaptation Carnage. The premise is simple: two couples meet to try and resolve a fight between their young sons. But as their children’s actions quickly reflect upon the parents, a furious war of words ensues, shattering their façade of maturity.

The most prominent feature of Carnage is how well it has been cast. Featuring the talents of Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Jodie Foster (I always find it amusing that Hollywood A-listers overlook the fact he’s still wanted in the US for sleeping with a 13 year old), each player fits beautifully well into a chaotic clash of personalities. From Christoph Waltz’s morally bankrupt autocrat to Jodie Foster’s insanely convincing neurotic (during one shrieking fit I thought her head would pop off) the cast embody the spread of mad characters with remarkable ease.

And the limitation of a single apartment location really works in Carnage’s favour. As Waltz and Winslet constantly attempt (but fail) to leave the flat, the restrictive set effectively becomes a cage to trap these mal-adjusted people into confrontation. What begins as a cordial meeting quickly descends into a drunken slagging match that still manages to preserve wit, creativity and meaning amidst the maelstrom of anger.

Whilst not of the calibre of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Carnage is nevertheless a punchy, entertaining, well structured piece of cinema. It strips away the false pretences of modern civility and reveals (albeit in exaggerated form) how true reconciliation is often impossible. One to watch.

Carnage review by @filmfellahenry 

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About filmfellahenry
Film reviewer, script writer and occasional painter. Fan of Lumet, Aronofsky and Kubrick, with a good measure of early John Carpenter thrown in. Particularly like post-apocalyptic sci-fi, horror and fantasy film genres.

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