REVIEW CARNAGE (M) ★★★■
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