Posted by: greercn | February 12, 2012

Carnage

While the dialogue crackles with wit and style and all four stars have astonishing moments of control and insight, something important is missing here.

Roman Polanski usually has a deft touch with the reactions of people in enclosed spaces – he made his name as a director with chiller “Rosemary’s Baby” – yet the sense of watching a play, on stage, never leaves you.

For this to be a perfect movie, you’d need to lose yourself in it. I found the material and the people shallow. It’s like watching a lighter version of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”.

Based on Yasmina Reza’s play “The God Of Carnage”, the story is a simple one of New York parents getting together to discuss a playground “incident” between their two young sons.

If you are a continuity bore, as I am, you will be horribly annoyed by the fact that this play is set within a European apartment rather than in New York. If you notice the light switches, you’re not that involved.

Projectile vomit on an art book, Scotch and cigars and unhappy marriage observation provides the best bits of this.

While it’s refreshingly short at 79 minutes, you ask questions. Would the real master of the universe – Christoph Waltz’s role – bellow private and commercially sensitive information out in public, to strangers, on his mobile phone?

Although I do pass people in the street who are on their cell phones, yelling stuff I cringe at hearing.

Could anyone ever be as politically correct as Jodie Foster’s character is? John C Reilly – fresh from his turn as Tilda Swinton’s husband in “Kevin” – stretches himself, but fails to engage your emotions.

Kate Winslet is terrific as Waltz’s wife.

I enjoyed it, despite the lack of heating at the Notting Hill Gate Picturehouse.The staff were very good about warning people that it was cold in the screen, although they sort of gave that away by wearing hats and mittens.

Perhaps the recent heating failures at Stratford and the Gate could inspire some themed viewings? Anyone for “Happy Feet” or “Touching the Void” in an authentic Arctic/Antarctic/mountain cold environment?

Maybe not. I am still struggling to see what Polanski saw in the play. If you like Reza’s work and appreciate her messages – whatever they are – do see it. I didn’t look at my watch. But it was gone from my thoughts within an hour.

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Responses

  1. I agree, broadly speaking, but I sort of like the wonderful shallowness of it all. It’s easy to digest, rather than something full of fibre. And I think the film acknowledges that with it’s non-ending ending, “happily ever after” final shot and its very brisk runtime. I don’t think I’ll return to it again and again, but it’s the kinda thing I’ll enjoy if I catch it on the telly.


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