In Brooklyn Bridge Park, eleven year old Zachary Cowan strikes his eleven year old classmate Ethan Longstreet across the face with a stick after an argument. Among the more serious of Ethan's injuries is a permanently missing tooth and the possibility of a second tooth also being lost. Their respective parents learn of the altercation through Ethan's parents questioning him about his injuries. The Longstreet parents invite the Cowan parents to their Brooklyn apartment to deal with the incident in a civilized manner. They are: Penelope Longstreet, whose idea it was to invite the Cowans, she whose priorities in life include human rights and justice; Michael Longstreet, who tries to be as accommodating as possible to retain civility in any situation; Nancy Cowan, a nervous and emotionally stressed woman; and Alan Cowan, who is married more to his work as evidenced by the attachment he has to his cell phone and taking work calls at the most inopportune times. Although the meeting starts ... Written by
Roman Polanski: The neighbor who opens the door to take a look at what is happening in the hallway. See more »
Michael takes the phone from the vase and a close shot shows it in his left hand as well as Alan's left hand to the right. Alan's fingers are outstretched. The camera cuts to a reverse shot, where his fingers are not outstretched. See more »
Size matters, right? even for Roman, after the brilliantly intricacy-crafted THE GHOST WRITER (2010), the scale of CARNAGE shrinks just like a hors d'oeuvre, no wonder its lukewarm feedback is percolating in spite of the lure of 4 Oscar-bounded leading thespians. Actually the response is par for the course, the film hinges on a more stringent time schedule (literally the exact time audience spends in front of the big screen), which is too featherweight to be considered seriously for the Oscar race (referring to other play-adapted Oscar dearest CLOSER 2004 or DOUBT 2008, both at least possess a decent time span), but which doesn't thwart all the fun one could obtain from a feature film.
The disintegration of these two pairs of parents is intrigued bit by bit with derision, insult and disdain, the initial wrangle of two flatly unfamiliar couples are reflecting everyone's customary procedure of dealing with strangers, the approach of eclipsing others in a restrained manner in order not to break a fragile bottom line "our face of respect", and once Nancy (Kate Winslet's character) has lost her face with a hilarious vomit to all the civil pretentiousness, the battle of matrimony, sex, social supremacy and civil wit is officially instigated, the carnage of verbal assaults prevails and within a compact 80 minutes, the dialogues are drolly sharp and incisive, wounds are acute without bleeding,
The grand cast is beyond any accomplishment, Jodie Foster manifests her excellent curb in melodrama in many years though is a shade over-the-top during the end and Kate Winslet never mislead her devotees albeit being self-conscious in sundry scenes, Christoph Waltz fiendishly holds his introvert nature all the time while being socially authentic; arguably the weakest line, john C. Reilly is in his comfort zone to liberate the venom under his goody-goody disguise.
One big plus is the film ends ideally when the fray starts to become stale, so Polanski is still as crafty as any filmmakers could ever wish for.
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