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Carnage [DVD]
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VINE VOICEon 25 April 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a spiky satire on contemporary bourgeois correctness. Two couples meet in a New York apartment to agree a course of action following an incident involving their 11 year old sons.

The dialogue is agonisingly tense, the atmosphere claustrophobic and confrontational. Each of the our characters clash with the other protagonists. Rifts between couples emerge, and the men and women form allegences against the opposite sex. No-one supports anyone, and the 'meeting' descends into an alcohol-fuelled brawl - far worse than any playground children's dispute. The characters are each hideous in their own way. At first, they are composed and conceal their innermost thoughts and opinions, but as the film progresses every nasty, destructive judgmental comment spews forth,

The script is smart and the acting superb. I particularly liked the symbolism used throughout. Items, including a mobile phone, tulips, art books, trousers and a handbag are destroyed. The verbal punch-ups are interrupted throughout by mobile and phone conversations - everyone stops fighting and remains seething, waiting for the call to finish.

It was an uncomfortable hour, but an intriguing one and fascinating to the middle classes - like watching ourselves distort in a hall of mirrors into the grotesque characters that lurk behind the veneer in most of us. Scary.
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on 11 November 2017
This Polanski movie was recommended to me after I'd seen Sally Potter's "The Party", as being another story of how a small group of apparently perfectly civilised people reveal their true selves, relationships and opinions under stress, aided and abetted by some best single malt. It's filmed in real time, so we see exactly how the meeting to resolve a spat between the two couple's sons descends into the metaphorical carnage of the title. The performances are all excellent, evoking all kinds of tensions within the confines of the apartment of the Longstreets (Jodie Foster and Jon C Reilly). The Cowans (Kate Winslett and Christoph Waltz) play an urbane couple, but the cracks show increasingly with the incessant calls from "Walter" et al taken by Alan. Such stories are positively irresistible in their sharp ridicule of humanity's deceptions, self-delusion and affectations and, as these characters' true natures emerge, you might just find yourself looking uncomfortably at yourself...!
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on 25 November 2017
This was funnier than I expected it to be. I loved the fact that it was four people in a room and the class of acting made it so watchable. Loved the slow burning atmosphere and the building of tension. The comedy is witty and realistic and I was sat there nodding away at points thinking yes, I know what you mean. Well worth a watch.
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on 30 September 2013
Great film with a great cast. Full of twists and turns. Polanski at his best - if only he could make films more regularly.
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on 8 October 2015
Great
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on 23 August 2017
Perfect.
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on 5 January 2013
This is one of those rare films that leaves you open mouthed and scared and you might want to grab a cushion and watch peaking from behind it, not because it is horror gore, but because it's social awkwardness galore! The dialogue is utterly incisive, and the acting goes without saying: entirely well judged. What is brilliant about the scenario is that from one moment to another you find yourself liking and disliking all of them at some point, but most of all you think "why did you ever decide to get together in this situation". You laugh at them but also empathise. It does poke fun at the entire spectrum of the civilised veneer of particularly the modern middle class, those who struggle with all the same problems of life regardless of how much money or successful you are, but when it all boils down it's basically carnage!

If you are in any way shy of socially difficult situations, this movie is uncomfortable viewing, but stick with it, it is strangely also affirming.

4 starts rather than 5 because there were one or two bits where I was left wanting to see even less restraint, and that's coming from me: a person who hates socially awkward situations!
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on 6 September 2016
A bleak, black satire on modern manners,with excellent performances from all four cast members, particularly Jodie Foster as a tightly wound neurotic perfectionist. Kate Winslett, John C Reilly and Christoph Waltz lend great support. At first toe curlingly uncomfortable to watch, the film develops nicely into black farce as Winslett and Waltz try to extricate themselves from an increasingly embarrassing encounter.Good manners and diplomacy soon give way to snarling sarcasm,hypocracy and barbed insults,thanks to a few stress relieving shots of single malt. There are some hilarious moments where everyone disgraces themselves and we recognise our own failings in their antics. Well adapted from the play by French dramatist Yasmina Reza. Polanski back on form.
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on 19 July 2012
Format: DVD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Working on a "sense of community," the two couples in Carnage engage in slowly evolving urban warfare, precipitated by violence in the playground between their two sons.

This adaptation from the Broadway play, God of Carnage, is a soberer (by a little) version of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Penelope (Jody Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) host Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan (Christof Waltz) in their Brooklyn apartment to iron out difficulties coming from their sons' fight, which resulted in Penelope and Michael's son's mangled mouth.

What begins civilly escalates to a raw verbal mêlée with all players laying bare their prejudices and weaknesses while the issue of the repentance of Nancy and Alan's child becomes a vehicle for class and culture clash. As in director Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, the action is almost exclusively in the small, one bedroom apartment, resulting in an uncomfortable crowding of bodies and egos. And it doesn't take long for the individual differences to surface as one is conciliatory, another confrontational, another detached, and another bewildered.
Nor does it take long (only an 80 minute production anyway) for alliances to build (and not necessarily in the same couple) with the refrain "Why are we still here?" becoming the battle cry.

Yes, it doesn't turn out well, nor would most confrontations except that the civil veneer usually stays intact for most of us.

But when writers Yasmina Reza and Polanski allow the characters to speak their minds, albeit helped by Scotch, the drama gets good and the words become socially lethal.

What I like best is the language, not elevated but sassy, smart, and colloquial: "Should we wrap this up?" Yes, it is a film to be wrapped, but there is no real end to the social jousting that goes on in our minds if not our mouths, which are sometimes beaten badly as careless children might do in their play.
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on 3 September 2016
Bought it to show at our village cinema club, but after watching it, decided that it was not suitable lots of bad language, and with all there action being limited to two couples and one flat, a bit like a stage play.
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