Two sets of parents meet to talk about their sons who were fighting,
and as the day unfolds, they become increasingly childish themselves.
Directed by Roman Polanski
Written by Yasmina Reza and Roman Polanski
Starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
Based on the stage play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza
Carnage is a terrific dialogue-heavy film centered in one location with only four major players, all of whom give outstanding performances. It all starts very simple. Two kids had a fight, one lost some teeth, and their parents want to talk about what comes next. But the parents are far more concerned about the nature of the fight than the kids ever would be, and the constant bickering causes buried truths about their marriages and their lives to come spewing out until both sets of parents are acting far more childish than the kids and everyone's lost focus. It's really quite entertaining.
Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly are Penelope and Michael Longstreet, the parents of the victim. Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz are Nancy and Alan Cowan, the parents of the perpetrator. Penelope and Michael want an apology from the Cowans' son, and Nancy and Alan think that there's fault on both sides. This basic argument morphs into an all-out verbal brawl where everyone drops their game faces and the real truth comes out. This film would be nothing without the intense and memorable performances and the chemistry between the four actors.
I really like Carnage. I think it's one of Polanski's best movies, mostly because it does so much with virtually nothing. You can tell it's based on a play, as the film never leaves the Longstreets' apartment and everything is centered around the back-and-forth. It's a fairly short movie and a good watch for film buffs as well as anyone looking for a comedy with a little verbal edge on it.