Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 24, 2012

Kicking and screaming

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 10:31 pm

February 24, 2012

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz

Director: Roman Polanski

The idea of watching four people arguing in a room for eighty minutes hardly sounds like fun. But this is a film by Roman Polanski, and the acting’s top notch.

Brimming with sharp, witty dialogue, and unfolding in a slightly cramped upscale New York apartment, Carnage is a wickedly funny chamber piece in which the Longstreets (Jodie Foster and John C Reilly) invite the Cowans (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) over for a hopefully civilized chat, when their son is assaulted by the Cowans’ boy in a nearby park. Fueled by alcohol and their own prejudices, what starts off as a well-mannered affair quickly descends into an all-out war, where words become weapons.

All four actors are in solid form, but it’s Christoph Waltz who deserves special mention here as a cynical corporate lawyer, who’s invariably interrupted by calls on his Blackberry during the most heated moments of argument. Over the course of the row, that offending mobile phone is flung into a flower vase, a purse is hurled across the room, and someone vomits all over a stack of fancy art books.

It’s all extremely funny, and Polanski enjoys stripping his characters off their dignity, to show us that good manners after all are only skin-deep.

I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for Carnage. In the end your sympathy is reserved for the children of these obnoxious folks; the only thing those kids need to be protected against are their dangerous parents. Don’t miss this film if you’re a fan of good acting and delicious dialogue.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Loved this film when I watched it about a week back. Sharp and smooth, it never feels overdone in those odd 80 mins. It so much represents the modern times we live in, where almost everything is faked up for others. There may be domestic violence at home, but outside everything is pretentious. Kids are ‘used’ as a way to present their self by the parents for their lack of time for parenting.

    Fantastic satire..almost a slap our the urban life. What is most to be seen is how insecurity makes it from a couple vs couple thing to ladies vs men to husband vs wife.

    Comment by Bhavdeep Singh Chadha — February 25, 2012 @ 12:51 am

  2. Yeah this film was great.

    Comment by Himanshu Vora — February 25, 2012 @ 1:58 am

  3. Your review is interesting hope to see film ASAP!!!!

    Comment by vamsi — February 25, 2012 @ 1:19 pm

  4. , and the fact of Polanski’s immense crnooibutitn to culture over the past several decades, a mature Society needs to balance what is best overall. What is lost if a genius is locked away and cannot create? Example: When I was in college a professor explained to us that a special effort was made to extricate Igor Stravinsky from Nazi occupied Europe. The question raised by this was the moral legitimacy of saving this one man while others were left to probably perish. Our professor, a very learned Jewish scholar, explained that it was not Stravinsky being saved, but rather it was all that this man was going to give mankind that was being saved from destruction. I don’t know precisely what happened between Polanski and the girl on the day in question only they do. But I do know the value of great art to all of mankind. Who knows, perhaps the woman involved understands that value also.

    Comment by Luka — May 18, 2012 @ 2:14 pm

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