Friday, January 13, 2012


On paper I think "Carnage," taken from Yasmina Reza's "God of Carnage," sounds pretty interesting: a real-time, devolving argument between two couples who fight each other verbally rather than physically and who begin to see how really screwed up their marriages are. However, Roman Polanski follows up his excellent "The Ghost Writer" with one of the thinnest and least necessary motion pictures of the year. Superficial, monotonous, and strung together, "Carnage" is a tired, flat film almost entirely limited to an apartment that's supposed to be in New York (though with Polanski's house arrest, it wasn't shot there). As a result of that, it's pretty thematically limited as well, and the only kicks one can expect to get out of this come via the occasionally funny script.

Zachary whacks Ethan in the face with a stick in a park, and the parents want to sort things out. Ethan's, Penelope and Michael (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly), invite Zachary's, Nancy and Alan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz), over to settle matters and what seems to be a simple chat to set up positive interaction between the boys turns into much more as the guests stay to eat apparently horrific cobbler, drink coffee, spew bile, drink, and, to the annoyance of everybody, answer countless phone calls.

Sure, some of the satire works at times, and the performances are decent, but it's not really worth it. Whit Stillman does this sort of thing better. "Carnage" is certainly not worth spending a bunch of money on, especially if you're someone who doesn't see a ton of movies. C


aspergiansarah said...

Are you really okay with watching Roman Polanski films? No, no, I'm not judging you, nor would I judge anyone who appreciates Polanski's alleged brilliance (I'm not being sarcastic, I just haven't seen any of his films.)

I want to watch "Repulsion," "The Ghost Rider," & this, & I very much like Christoph Waltz (to me, "Inglourious Basterds" is quite the movie,) but it pisses me off that Polanski *raped* a *child* and got away with it by fleeing the country.

Maybe it's almost a personal thing. I'm trying to hold on to some of my beliefs, despite not being religious at all (I gave up vegetarianism because it wasn't right for me, and am always pushing the envelope in terms of what movie violence I can tolerate.)

I feel like if I watch even one of 'Rapey Polanski''s films, I'll be disappointed in myself. What do you think? Do you think a director's films and what he does otherwise can (and should) be separated?

Nick Duval said...

It's actually completely unfair to judge the work of someone based on on their past incidents unless that work promotes negative issues, etc. Ebert had an answer man Q&A on that a while ago as I remember, and I very much agree with his philosophy of "where do you draw the line?" In the same vein, would you be more inclined to like a bad film because the director was the nicest guy in the world?