Release Date: Jan. 13, 2012
Running Time: 80 minutes
Parents dread receiving the call informing them that their child has been involved in an act of bullying, regardless of whether their child is the victim or the perpetrator. In director Roman Polanski’s talky pitch-black comedy Carnage, two sets of parents sit down to discuss such an incident involving their sons. Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly want to know why their son was hit by a stick by the son of Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz. Of course, things are not as black and white as they seem. So while the sit down starts off civilized, with Foster pressing gently for an apology, it quickly turns into a booze-fueled knee-jerk shout fest. The meeting doesn’t just bring out the worst in them—it turns wife against husband. Based on the play by Yasmina Reza, Polanski never tries to hide Carnage’s theatrical roots or attempt to move the action outside of Foster and Reilly’s New York apartment. He effectively employs Carnage’s staginess make us feel like we are trapped inside the cramped apartment with four people who are at each other’s throats. This only heightens the intensity of the situation. Carnage unfolds in real time, and Polanski moves everything along at rapid-fire speed. Foster, Reilly, Winslet and Waltz also spit out their damaging accusations and retorts in bullet-like fashion. As an attorney who spends more time on the phone with a client than discussing the issue at hand, Waltz effortlessly steals Carnage with his stinging wit and blatant “so what” attitude. Carnage is played for laughs, but this is a vicious comedy of manners that uncomfortably reveals how easy it is for us to lose our cool during heated moments when our buttons are pressed. It also taps into our natural instinct to protect the ones we love, even when we know they have done wrong. When all is said and done, and the two couples finally put down their dukes, Carnage makes it clear that parents are often as bad as their kids when it comes to blowing things out of proportion and flying off the handle.
Aired: Jan. 13, 2012
Web site: http://www.sonyclassics.com/carnage/