FILM: Carnage Review (*1/2)

Posted: January 4, 2012 in Film, Reviews
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Carnage is proof that making a movie is more than placing a handful of talented actors in one room, and letting them “act”. There needs to be some kind of structure, some semblance of plausibility and relatability. But the modern-day cinematic maestro Roman Polanski infuses none of his patented subtlety or discretion to build suspense in this 79-minute wash of a film. Instead, the four leads quickly evolve from annoying to unbearably annoying in what becomes an expose of First World Problems.

In the aftermath of a schoolyard fight, two sets of parents come together to resolve the matter. The Longstreets (John C. Reilly, Jodie Foster) and the Cowans (Christoph Waltz, Kate Winslet) start off remarkably polite and chum, acquiescing to each other’s wishes the way you would imagine modern yuppies would on a weekday afternoon. When delicate small talk turns to more serious matters, however, all hell breaks loose. One mother pukes. Another mother gets drunk. One father curses. The other hangs out with his phone. Through it all, every character is revealed to be questionable parents and more importantly, questionable human beings.

Polanski’s goal is apparent — he wants to explore the silliness and the evils of human nature within a claustrophobic setting. And for that, he succeeds. We are stuck in the theater with four characters who don’t want to be around each other. And yet they still hang around — for coffee or dessert’s sake. I don’t understand it. But then again, a packed theater joined me to hang around too. Why? I’m not sure. Like the Cowans, I wished I never set foot in that room either.


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