Directed by: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
Running Time: 78mins
DVD Release: June 18th 2012
The words “black comedy” are absolute music to our ears here at Screen 22, and we must say that new dark film Carnage doesn’t disappoint. The film is based on the play God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza and follows the meeting of two couples, Michael and Penelope Longstreet (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster), and Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet). When their two eleven year old sons get into a confrontation in the playground (with the Cowan’s son hitting the Longsteet’s son in the face with a stick – don’t laugh) the Longstreet’s decide to invite the Cowan’s to their apartment in order to deal with the incident in a civilised manner.
As the visit keeps coming to an end something continuously occurs that keeps the Cowan’s from leaving the Longstreet’s apartment such as Nancy vomiting or yet another of businessman Alan’s phone calls. At first civility seems to be the top order but as stress levels and competition raise high, a few glasses of Scotch whiskey seem to bring the beasts out in the four of them, ending in funny consequences.
Carnage is constantly amusing and short enough to retain its humour throughout. However, sometimes the couples don’t seem realistic which makes their descent into verbal brutality fruitless and often Foster’s acting is much more dramatic than comical which detracts from the droll aim of the film. But considering there are three “non-comedy” actors in there and the humour is much more suited to a play, it really does manage to pull its weight in the demanding black comedy genre. Although quite artistically shot for a black comedy (and who can complain considering Polanski’s input?) there are some laugh-out loud moments and the film is quite constantly amusing (if we forget about Foster’s scary outbursts that is). The confined space makes it obvious that it is adapted form a play but luckily the actors manage to adapt it well to a film version and ultimately deliver a funny and overall delightful piece of comical cinema.
The extras aren’t exactly plentiful but they are enough to quench any thirst you may have in regards to Carnage. We are treated to the trailer which sums up the film nicely and also to up-and-close interviews with all four members of the key cast. They give us the low-down on the transformation from play to film, from French to American, on Roman Polanski, and on working on such a confined set. Any fan of the play or film will love these extras. We here at Screen 22 just love watching Christoph Waltz’s face in motion for ten minutes…