Carnage (France/ Germany/ Spain/ Poland, 2012)
Directed by Roman Polanski
Starring Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz
The reputation of Roman Polanski's classic work leads you to expect nothing but the very best from him. Even with the occasional stumble, such as Pirates or The Ninth Gate, you still enter into any new film he makes with high expectations, and even in his recent work he has delivered. But whereas The Pianist and The Ghost Writer were examples of masterful cinematic craft, Carnage is a disappointingly stagey effort, which fails to flesh out the ideas of its source material or satisfy us as a black comedy.
Blue Velvet, The Stepford Wives and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (more on that later).
The Dark Knight, "just want to watch the world burn") and the bleeding heart liberals who believe in making a difference. Neither group is shown to have any credibility: Waltz cannot cope when his phone is destroyed, and Foster and Kate Winslet both resort to heavy drinking.
The Squid and the Whale, or any Noah Baumbach film, because at least in this case there is something going on. But if we don't pick up on or understand all of the philosophical undercurrents, it becomes nothing more than four over-privileged New Yorkers moaning for 80 minutes. Although it always feels like there is some kind of end to this means, their complaints are so banal or removed from reality that we often lack the patience or desire to spend more time with them.
We Need To Talk About Kevin. Christoph Waltz continues his knack of being the best thing in sub-par productions, following on from recent turns in The Green Hornet and The Three Musketeers. And Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet both manage to keep us interested, with the latter deserving extra points for vomiting so convincingly.
Verdict: A stagey and pompous disappointment
For more of my thoughts on Roman Polanski, check out my WhatCulture! article on him here.