Cert: TBA Runtime: 80mins Director: Roman Polanski Cast: Kate Winslet, John C.Reilly, Jodie Foster and Christoph Waltz
A new comedy of no manners
Roman Polanski is back with his new film Carnage, after very good reviews from the US it will be hitting British cinemas this February.We have four Oscar-winning or nominated actors and actresses as the cast in “Carnage”, and you will not be disappointed. The plot is not much of a focus in this movie; it only helps fulfill the purpose of depicting the four main characters in detail.After a school violence incident, parents of the two involved kids gathered at a house to discuss what they should do about this. Ethan, the one who got hit, is the son of Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly). And Zachary, the one who hit Ethan, is the son of Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christoph Waltz).What do not matter here are the incident itself and the true goal or purpose of the meeting. The incident was not even clearly described; What started the incident was only vaguely stated. What matters is that what is derived from this meeting seemingly regarding the two children is actually a character showcase of four Oscar-level actors and actresses.
As the plot unfolds, we are drifting away from the school incident about the kids (though it was still mentioned from time to time) and are getting into the more personal lives of the four parents. So there is not much depth in the plot to speak of, but rather the depth of the characters that has transformed into the outcome of fascinatingly solid performances.Penelope was the “calm” one, or at least she had been pretending to stay that way until the point at which she could not stand it anymore. She was also the one who believed in justice and had a clear viewpoint on right or wrong. Throughout the discussion, she had established Ethan, her son, as a passive victim and that Zachary was completely at fault.Michael was the one that did not seem to care much. His character often revolved around his deliberate abandonment of a hamster and it was an act that grew into a heated argument in some of the scenes. His marriage with Penelope was another point of interest, not only for him and his wife, but also for the conversation as a whole.Nancy, as Penelope referred to, was the “fake” one. She seemed to be an upright and noble woman until it was later revealed that her marriage with her husband was nowhere near flawless. Kate Winslet did well playing Nancy, letting the audience witness the change in her. As she started pouring alcohol down her stomach, the image gradually deteriorated, replaced by an utter loss of control in her real self.
And we must not miss Alan, who was the “phone guy”. His character was best characterized by his mobile phone, which was his “toy” and his connection to work and possibly his “everything”. And you cannot imagine the number of laughs triggered by the phone brought to the audience. I am not sure if “workaholic” is the accurate word of description but the phone was more than an indicator of that as it also turned out to be a problem in the marriage and for all the four people in the living room.The film is relatively short. The ending might seem incomplete without a resolution of the schoolyard brawl, but since the plot is not really the element of the most significance, and in the end the characters were successfully and comprehensively well-developed, it is not to be considered an imperfection.It is a good mix of comedy and drama which serves as a platform for the potential of four over-achieving stars. It is a film that manages to construct several comedic moments while cleverly tackling the studies of characters in a realistic level and in depth. This is not the ordinary kind of comedy but this is as good, perhaps better.Last but not least, since we are nearing the Academy Awards. I am sure all of the performances deserve nominations. After all, they are veterans who have been around for some time and there were really excellent performances given. It should turn out that more than one will be nominated, or none will be, for the Academy may conveniently overlook this with the excuse that this is not “serious” enough and too short, which is a decision that I will not appreciate should it happen, 7.9/10