Fight club

RE­VIEW CAR­NAGE (M) ★★★■

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Movies - LEIGH PAATSCH

Di­rec­tor: Ro­man Polan­ski ( The Pi­anist ) Stars: Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly Much to be dis­cussed, much to their mu­tual dis­gust BASED on a hit stage play of some re­pute, Car­nage asks a lot of its au­di­ence but of­fers lit­tle in re­turn.

Di­rec­tor Ro­man Polan­ski has forged his en­tire ca­reer upon teas­ing and tor­ment­ing view­ers. So you’d think a claus­tro­pho­bic black com­edy like Car­nage would play to his nig­gling strengths.

Think again. The task of con­trast­ing the wordy ex­changes of the Car­nage script with the warped morals of its wellto- do char­ac­ters is a fum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence for Polan­ski.

And be­cause the cam­era is cooped up in a New York condo with a quar­rel­some quar­tet for the en­tire run­ning time, there is nowhere for any­one to hide. ( Not even the one ac­tion scene to Car­nage’s name – which oc­curs when a Black­berry is thrown into a flower ar­range­ment – can re­verse the rut.)

The set- up? In a Brook­lyn park, one child has set upon an­other child with a stick. There might have been some bul­ly­ing be­fore­hand. There were def­i­nitely some bro­ken teeth af­ter­wards.

Now the four par­ents of the fight­ing tykes have con­vened to sort out the spat in a civilised fash­ion.

In fact, words like civilised and de­cent are men­tioned so of­ten here you just know the main play­ers are to be unmasked as any­thing but.

The mis- cast pair­ing of Jodie Foster ( too shrill, too arch) and John C. Reilly ( nei­ther shrill nor arch enough) own the child with the busted fangs.

The ever- su­perb Christoph Waltz ( who makes ev­ery line sting) and a fraz­zled Kate Winslet ( watch out when her char­ac­ter starts drink­ing) are de­fend­ing the one with the stick.

Ev­ery­one loses their cool, finds it, then loses it again. Not all to­gether at the same time, mind you. Though that might have made for a slightly more in­trigu­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Now show­ing State Cinema

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