Out Now On-Demand
A new comedy of no manners.
Master filmmaker Roman Polanski's adaptation of Yasmina Reza's comedy play, God of Carnage.
Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly play two sets of parents who meet after their sons are involved in a schoolyard brawl. It seems, however, that childishness doesn't diminish with age as the initially cordial meeting dissolves into chaos. The action is set entirely within a city apartment.
Adaptation, Comedy, Drama
Rating: M contains offensive language
France, Germany, Poland, Spain
A Polanski comedy seems like an oxymoron, but great things are bound to happen when you give the director worthy material, regardless of genre. Almost immediately, we’re given a sense that neither one of these characters are the flawless human beings their facades suggest, with the following 79 minutes dedicated to proving that.
Tensions burn slowly between the incompatible couples (as well as the respective spouses) as they slowly chip away at each other’s tolerance. One by one, they reach a breaking point and, before they can reach a wholesome moment of mitigated relief, something else furthers the chaos. The gradual collapse from their built-up politeness-driven personas to their broken, honest selves is extremely well-done and immensely satisfying to watch.
The cast are on their A-game. Winslet displays projectile levels of stress (you’ll know what I mean) while Waltz effortlessly triggers an apathetic gaze that says “I really don’t give a crap about your stupid opinions.” Jodie Foster pulls out a career best since The Silence of the Lambs, playing a self-indulgent, attention-seeking super-liberal to such irritating perfection that you want to high-five her in both the hand and the face.
The ending cuts off abruptly, making you wonder where the last five minutes of the film went. It’s an intrusive airbag to a delightfully uncivilised car-crash of a meeting, but that momentary feeling of emptiness subsides pretty quickly.
A.V. Club (USA)
Chicago Sun-Times (Roger Ebert)
Los Angeles Times
New York Times
Total Film (UK)