4.5 2
Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz


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Director Roman Polanski teams with playwright Yasmina Reza to adapt Reza's Tony Award-winning play about four New York parents who gather for a civilized discussion that becomes anything but after their children get into a scuffle at a local park. Alan (Christoph Waltz) and Nancy (…  See more details below


Director Roman Polanski teams with playwright Yasmina Reza to adapt Reza's Tony Award-winning play about four New York parents who gather for a civilized discussion that becomes anything but after their children get into a scuffle at a local park. Alan (Christoph Waltz) and Nancy (Kate Winslet) are the parents of Zachary, a young schoolboy whose recent fight with classmate Ethan resulted in two of Ethan's teeth being broken. Convinced that they can find an amiable solution to the problem rather than dragging lawyers into the picture, Ethan's parents Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael (John C. Reilly) invite Alan and Nancy to their home to discuss the matter in a comfortable setting. At first the conversation is cordial, with both sets of parents stating their own perspectives over coffee and dessert. But once the booze starts to flow and the guards come down, things begin to turn combative. As the evening wears on, both sets of parents are slinging venomous insults and engaging in underhanded behavior that makes their kids' tooth-chipping tussle look like child's play.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly) invite Nancy and Alan Cowan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) to their high-rise New York apartment in order to discuss how their children should be disciplined after the Cowans' son hit the Longstreets' son with a stick while they were playing in the park. This location puts the group above it all, literally, and with their high-minded attempts to have a civilized conversation they pretend to be above it all emotionally as well. But the meeting starts to take on darker overtones, and soon the foursome bicker, get drunk, and sink into such self-loathing that three of them declare this the worst day of their lives. That's the simple setup for Carnage, a jet-black comedy of manners that plays to director Roman Polanski's thematic and visual strengths. Adapted from the Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage, the movie never quite escapes its obvious origins as a stage production, but you can hardly fault Polanski for refusing to "open up" the material when the actors get to revel in such entertaining dialogue. Besides, the whole point of the play is that these two couples get too close to one another -- both physically and emotionally -- for this brief period of time. Confining them in more or less a room and a hallway adds to the claustrophobic feelings that the characters experience. The four-person cast, which includes three Oscar winners, is unsurprisingly excellent. Jodie Foster plays a high-strung woman whose interest in exposing African genocide masks deep feelings of liberal guilt, and Reilly adroitly handles Michael's evolution as he drops the mask of public niceties to reveal an angry and petulant man who would release his young daughter's pet hamster into the streets. As the parents of the attacked child, they take every opportunity to make the Cowans feel as guilty as possible while initially refusing to drop the pretense of manners. As played by Winslet, Nancy is a stressed-out, bitter housewife at the end of her rope, with a husband who spends more time on his cell phone conducting business than interacting with her or their child. But it's Waltz who has the best part, because Alan is the only one who can barely bother to pretend that this entire meeting is necessary; he's an unapologetic corporate shark who, in the film's best monologue, expresses his belief in the God of Carnage. Even at its brief running time, there is a point when a certain sameness sets in: Once these people are exposed for their various insecurities and faults, there really isn't anywhere for the storyline to go dramatically. The actors keep it watchable, though, and the final shot is pure and perfect Polanski. With a single image he lets us know that whatever these privileged, wealthy New Yorkers are going through, it has almost no relation to the real world. It's a fabulous ending that makes Carnage an enjoyably pointed satire about how people can overthink themselves into unnecessary misery.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Actors' notes; An evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz; On the red carpet

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jodie Foster Penelope Longstreet
Kate Winslet Nancy Cowan
Christoph Waltz Alan Cowan
John C. Reilly Michael Longstreet
Elvis Polanski Zachary
Eliot Berger Ethan
Joseph Rezwin Walter
Nathan Rippy Dennis
Tanya Lopert Mother
Julie Adams Secretary

Technical Credits
Roman Polanski Director,Screenwriter
Oliver Berben Co-producer
Milena Canonero Costumes/Costume Designer
Hervé de Luze Editor
Alexandre Desplat Score Composer
Pawel Edelman Cinematographer
Michael Katims Translator
Martin Moszkowicz Co-producer
Piotr Reisch Co-producer
Ralph Remstedt Asst. Director
Yasmina Reza Screenwriter
Jaume Roures Co-producer
Saïd Ben Saïd Producer
Dean Tavoularis Production Designer
Fiona Weir Casting

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Carnage
1. Chapter 1 [6:37]
2. Chapter 2 [3:00]
3. Chapter 3 [4:42]
4. Chapter 4 [4:44]
5. Chapter 5 [4:52]
6. Chapter 6 [4:31]
7. Chapter 7 [4:36]
8. Chapter 8 [3:57]
9. Chapter 9 [4:11]
10. Chapter 10 [4:03]
11. Chapter 11 [3:56]
12. Chapter 12 [3:36]
13. Chapter 13 [7:46]
14. Chapter 14 [6:02]
15. Chapter 15 [4:46]
16. Chapter 16 [8:06]


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Carnage 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best movies I have ever yet to see due to it's strange plot line, simple yet interesting characters & the wonderful acting and directing. It may have a basic premise yet the story is made incredibly interesting and picks up  from there. Just hilarious, hilarious. I've watched it more than a dozen or so times and I still love it. 
KennyA More than 1 year ago
A kinder, gentler, funnier WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? Kate Winslet and John C. Reilly shine while Waltz presents a new face and gets in his zingers. Foster is always good but may be guilty here of some slight over-acting as the PC Liberal-type who is really an emotional mess. This film caught me by complete surprise...I rented it on a whim and wound up watching it 3 times, laughing through much of it. Definitely deserved some award recognition!