Written by / 1/22/2012 / No comments / , , , , ,

CARNAGE

title: CARNAGE
year: 2011
cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz
rating: ***1/2

In Roman Polanski’s first feature film, KNIFE IN THE WATER, he kept us interested in three people on a small boat. Cut to many years later: four people are bickering inside a tiny apartment consisting of two couples in a particularly uncomfortable situation: Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly’s son was beat up by the son of Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz, and they plan to work it out. The first half… what should be called a “round”… sticks close to the issue at hand – after which, when the characters get unraveled and eventually drunk, the conversation embodies a broader scope: each neurotic personality shown in the light. Jodie Foster, as the most uptight and opinionated member of the group, fares well as the story's instigator but eventually goes overboard as the stress mounts; while Kate Winslet provides a few good moments but is otherwise limited by the results of a reoccurring stomach flu. Christoph Waltz, as a blunt, metronomic lawyer, is glued to his cell phone, which becomes an important character in itself. But it’s John C. Reilly, as Foster’s working class husband spouting the funniest and most unpredictable lines, who really steals the show. The first round works best – the dialog's lively and fresh with the actors in peak form. But after a while, and a few shots of bourbon, the atmosphere gets a bit too stagey and we forget, like the characters, about the purpose of the meeting. And beware of an extremely… abrupt… ending.
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