Vernon Film Society Director: Roman Polanski
Cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz
Run Time: 80 minutes
Country: France/Germany/Poland/Spain
Year: 2011
Language: English
Rating: PG (Coarse language)

In his follow-up to 2010’s The Ghost Writer, director Roman Polanski returns with his caustic and witty new film Carnage. Adapted from Yasmina Reza’s 2009 Tonywinning play God of Carnage, and featuring a top-notch cast of Jodie Foster (The Beaver, The Brave One), Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road, The Reader), John C. Reilly (the upcoming We Need To Talk About Kevin, Cyrus) and Christoph Waltz (Water for Elephants, Inglourious Basterds,), Carnage is a captivating and explosively comic study in the tension between civilized surface and savage instinct.

Set in contemporary Brooklyn, Carnage centres on two couples who meet to discuss a playground fight between two of their children. Harried corporate lawyer Alan (Waltz) and his put-upon wife Nancy (Winslet), a successful-flying broker, visit the apartment of Michael (Reilly), an amiable wholesaler, and Penelope (Foster), a self-consciously liberal writer, to discuss, logically and amiably, how to deal with the boys. However, as the evening wears on, the parents become increasingly childish and combative; words become weapons, prejudices rise to the surface and the meeting soon collapses into a storm of anger, recriminations, drunkenness and violence.Unfolding in real time, Polanski nimbly keeps the action flowing with an active camera that avoids the feeling of a play captured on film.

Instead, its single-set confinement (the story essentially takes place over 80 minutes in one location) recalls Polanski's similarly claustrophobic studies of urban alienation and psychic disintegration in Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby and The Tenant. It is also a master class in acting, and it’s a pure pleasure to watch the thespian one-upmanship as each character strives to dominate a deteriorating scenario.Carnage is ultimately a dark comedy about losing one’s manners. Alternately uproarious and devastating, it convincingly lays bare the darker tendencies of human nature.

" …Roman Polanski has rustled up a pitchblack farce of the charmless bourgeoisie that is indulgent, actorly and so unbearably tense I found myself gulping for air and praying for release. Hang on to your armrest and break out the scotch. These people are about to go off like Roman candles. " – Xan Brook, The Guardian


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