One of the norms of the twenty first century is over conscious very feeling parents of the upper middle class urban type. You those type of parents that you think are a little too PC for their own good. They treat every little thing with their kids like Def Con 4 and their whole world will end. The film Carnage really perfectly captures this type of world. The two couples portrayed in this film is the perfect storm of upper middle class urbanite parenting nightmare.
Carnage begins with two boys getting into a squabble in a Brooklyn Park. The film then cuts to Longstreets and Cowans together discussing the manner of the altercation. During this talk the two couples learn a lot about each other, much of which they don’t like. This film is takes place mostly in one room. It lives and breathes on its actors’ performances.
Christoph Waltz really steals the show as Alan Cowan, a hyper masculine alpha male lawyer. He never stops working always on his blackberry as the two couples tries to talk. He plays the whole thing with a sly smirk as he picks on the Longstreets. His main rival in this is Jodie Foster’s Penelope Longstreet, an artistic liberal very PC writer and homemaker. Foster is hilarious in her performance as heart on her sleeve touchy feely person being antagonized by Christoph Waltz’s character.
John C Reilly is pretty much his usual comedic great self here. He brings some of the best punch lines when they are needed in the film. He has a great turn the type of husband trying to be nice for his wife but then once he gets fed up with Cowans he totally lets loose and show his true self. Kate Winslet plays her role really reserved for about half of the film until the character’s start to drink then her character changes and add some moments of Apatow humor to the mix.
Roman Polanski does a great job of directing here. He’s not really known for comedy but he must’ve always had it in him all along. He keeps the camera tight and focused on the characters the whole time. It feels at time like you’re some invisible person sitting in on these awkward moments with these people. As said earlier the majority of the film is set within the living room of the Longstreets apartment so it’s pretty cool that he was able to keep things continually fresh and not boring the enter time.
Overall Carnage is really funny comedy and worth seeing. If you have problems supporting Roman Polanski’s work it might be worth breaking the rule over to see the actor’s performances. These are some of the strongest comedic performances of the year bar none. It’s also a short engagement; it doesn’t try to pad things out for time. It’s a speedy 81 minutes in the seats. Totally worth an afternoon in the theater during this weird winter 2012.
Final Grade is an A
Originally Published on Reel Film News