After two boys fight, their parents meet up to have a polite discussion. But the talks soon deteriorate into a verbal war, with all four parents revealing their true colors. Read the review of Carnage for more.
Business rating: 2/5 stars (Two stars)
Star cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly.
What’s Good: The entertaining dialogues; the performances.
What’s Bad: A couple of dips in the screenplay; the inconclusive climax.
Verdict: Carnage is an enjoyable fare but its inconclusive climax and the tough competition from other Hollywood releases will affect its prospects at the Indian box-office.
Loo break: None really; the film’s running time is only 80 minutes!
Watch or Not?: Watch it for the actors’ performances.
SBS Productions, Constantin Film Produktion, SPI Film Studio, Versátil Cinema, Zanagar Films, France 2 Cinéma and Visual Reality’s Carnage is a comedy about four parents who meet for to sort out the fight their young kids have had.
When young Zachary (Elvis Polanski) beats up his schoolmate, Ethan (Eliot Berger), Ethan’s parents, Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly), invite Zachary’s parents, Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz), over to their house to work out the issue.
However, what begins as a polite conversation between the couples soon descends into a verbal duel. While Alan, an attorney for a pharmaceutical firm, seems to care little about anybody, Penelope takes him and his wife to task for bringing up a violent child. On the other hand, Nancy and Michael, who initially placate their respective spouses, soon start squabbling with the opposite side and with their respective spouses too!
How the four adults deal with their differences and what happens while they are at it forms the rest of the drama.
Carnage Review: Script Analysis
Yasmina Reza and Roman Polanski’s screenplay, based on the play, God Of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, is entertaining and engaging for the most part. The characterisations – especially those of Alan and Penelope – bring a smile to the audience’s lips and provide ample scope for comic clashes. The dialogues are very good. Scenes in which Nancy shouts at Alan for constantly being on the phone and in which Michael lets his guard down to reveal his true personality are very entertaining.
However, the drama dips at a couple of places – for example, in the scene where Penelope goes on and on about her obsession with the African crisis. For a section of the Indian audience, watching four people having verbal fights within the confines of a single room, as funny as they might be, may not be their idea of entertainment. Moreover, the inconclusive climax of the film makes it seem more like a play.
Carnage Review: Star Performances
Jodie Foster is very good as the pacifist mother (Penelope) who turns belligerent as soon as her son is attacked. However, she goes over the top in a couple of scenes. Kate Winslet, as Nancy, acts like a breeze. Christoph Waltz, as Alan, takes the cake for his superb portrayal of the attorney with the couldn’t-care-less attitude. John C. Reilly, as Michael, matches the energy of his co-stars. He is superb in a couple of scenes.
Carnage Review: Direction & Technical Aspects
Roman Polanski’s direction is good because he manages to keep the viewer engaged for almost the entire film. Alexandre Desplat’s background score adds value. Production design, by Dean Tavoularis, is realistic. Pawel Edelman’s cinematography is fine. Editing, by Hervé de Luze, is sharp.
Carnage Review: The Last Word
On the whole, Carnage is an enjoyable fare but it will do average business in India, that too, in a few multiplexes. Its business will be severely restricted because of three Oscar-nominated Hollywood films releasing in India this week.
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