Carnage (2011 film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Carnage is a 2011 black comedy film co-written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the play God of Carnage by French playwright Yasmina Reza. The film is an international co-production of France, Germany, Spain and Poland.
When two grade-school boys get into a confrontation in the park that results in one boy hitting the other in the mouth with a stick, their parents meet in a Brooklyn apartment to discuss the matter. The parents of the boy wielding the stick, Alan and Nancy Cowan (Waltz and Winslet), visit the home of Michael and Penelope Longstreet (Reilly and Foster), who are the parents of the boy who was struck. Their meeting is initially intended to be a short visit but various circumstances, such as Nancy vomiting in the Longstreet's living room and Alan's numerous cell phone conversations, continue to draw it out.
At first, the verbal exchange between the two married couples maintains a high civility factor but when the differences between them start to emerge, subtly at first and eventually glaringly, the couples begin to turn on each other and finally each on their own spouse. As their civility and inhibition washes away, aided by a bottle of Scotch whisky, the geniality vanishes, descending fully into verbal warfare with all their character flaws laid bare.
In the end, the film cuts to footage of the two boys reconciling on their own, without the aid of their parents and while the credits roll, they are shown continuing to play in the park.
- Jodie Foster as Penelope Longstreet
- John C. Reilly as Michael Longstreet
- Kate Winslet as Nancy Cowan
- Christoph Waltz as Alan Cowan
Carnage received generally positive reviews from critics. It holds a 72% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which notes, "It isn't as compelling on the screen as it was on the stage, but Carnage makes up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster." On Metacritic, which uses an average of the critics' reviews, the film holds a 61/100, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".
Awards and honors
Cinema Writers of Spain
Best Adapted Screenplay - Roman Polanski, Yasmina Reza (nominee)
Boston Society of Film Critics
Best Ensemble Cast - Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards
Best Ensemble Performance - Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly (nominee)