You’d think nothing could go wrong given the material, the director and the cast, but this is mostly a misfire. It starts off being very funny, sprinkled with great lines of subtle, well-written comedy. It even made want to catch a plane and see God of Carnage on stage. But as our protagonists descend into total chaos, the movie becomes increasingly worse. Keep in mind Carnage is only 79 minutes long, so this change of gears is quick and abrupt. Carnage plays as a lighter, bad version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Towards the end, what was well-acted and humorous becomes boring, forced and exaggerated. Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet stand out from the reduced cast (although their work is not especially memorable), Jodie Foster is a little (OK, a lot) over the top and John C. Reilly sort of gets lost among the other flashier thespians.
Technically this film went into limited release last year in the U.S. but never played anywhere near me. Now it seems it has finally arrived at the local theater and I have no desire to see it anymore. I’ve heard nothing but praise for Winslet and Foster. I do like them, so it’s a toss up for me. Your two star review is scathing but succinct. Bravo!
I like Foster and Winslet too, but, the first is completely over the top and the second is not especially memorable (very surprising, I know). Thanks for commenting.
Polanski still makes films?? And I have not even seen Rosemary’s Baby. I had no desire to see Carnage, anyhow. Great review.
You HAVE to see Rosemary’s Baby. It’s crazy good. And yeah, he’s still making films. He had a minor hit with last year’s The Ghost Writer. I hadn’t yet started my blog when I wrote a review, so instead of giving you the link, I’ll paste it here:
Neo-noir political thriller with themes and appearance resembling those of Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton and State of Play but, most importantly, a Hitchcockian influence from the music, the rhythm of the plot and the tone, to the twists. Adapted from Robert Harris’s novel “The Ghost”, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer sees each and every one of its characters surrounded by a thick air of mystery, ensuring the viewer’s devoted attention. The film’s a little slow, but the enigmatic characters help keep the interest.
Polanski assembled a very eclectic cast for his most recent film. Ewan McGregor as the titular “ghost”, Kim Cattrall playing British (her actual nationality) for a change, the underrated Olivia Williams as icy, Tilda Swinton-y and perpetually angry Ruth, and in a very impressive performance, Pierce Brosnan as Adam Lang, a Tony Blair doppelgänger.
Also in the cast are Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Hutton and even a bald Jim Belushi (yeah, I was shocked to see him not only in a film, but in a Polanski film, no less). Outstanding cinematography by Pawel Edelman is perfect from the beginning up until the fantastic and shocking end.