Film review: Carnage (four out of five stars)

Calm before the storm in Carnage.
Calm before the storm in Carnage.

(15) 80mins

Director: Roman Polanski

Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly

IT MAKES a pleasant change to view a film that relies on good acting and a thoughtful script, rather than CGI tricks and death and destruction.

It’s no surprise that this is based on a play (by Yasmina Reza), as there are just four main characters, and the action is centred almost entirely in one room of a Brooklyn apartment.

Following an altercation between two schoolboys, their parents meet up to chat over the incident in a civilised fashion.

However, all four parents have ‘issues’ that end up being exposed and the friendly chat descends into ‘the worst day of my life’ as one of the four describes it.

Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Foster and Reilly) are parents of the boy who was attacked with Nancy (Winslet) and Alan (Waltz) Cowan mum and dad of the aggressor.

There is a definite sense of tension from word go thanks to some skillful direction from Polanski who over the years has shown his ability to create a mood.

Alan immediately winds everyone up with the continual use of his cell phone and, as a lawyer, is happy and comfortable in a more confrontational situation.

Michael’s reasonable attitude is just a thin layer ready to be stripped away.

His wife is simmering with concerns of injustice and Nancy is basically an emotional wreck.

But the fun part is watching how over 80 minutes we see different alliances created between the four which are then shattered with a single comment.

Those used to the ‘Hangover’ film style of humour may not enjoy this, but for me it was thoroughly entertaining.

Steve Payne

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley