Friday, January 11, 2013

"Carnage" with Jody Foster and Kate Winslet (2011)

When two young boys come to blows in a Brooklyn Heights playground, the parents of the two children get together to discuss the incident and just who is responsible. What happens from there is both hilariously funny, and also sadly true.

The two boys are never shown, except during a longshot while the opening credits are rolling. It is apparent though, that one of the boys has hit the other with what looks like a hockey stick. The film immediately shifts to the living room of Penelope and Michael Longstreet; played by John Reilly and Jody Foster; he is a hardware salesman, and she is an activist as well as a writer. They are the parents of the boy who was injured in the fight. The other couple, Alan and Nancy Cowan; played by Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet; have agreed to come over and talk with the Longstreet’s about the incident.

What follows is the unraveling of the masks we all wear in order to justify our own views, as well as impress others. The two couples are very different, yet the problems they face in their marriages are somewhat similar, and may have colored their children’s behavior.

As the day turns into evening; and the bottle of scotch gets lower and lower; the true feelings of each couple come to the surface, and surprisingly they are not always in lockstep with one another. And when all is said and done, the children have gone on playing in the park, seemingly unaffected by the differences between the grownups at all.

Directed by Roman Polanski, this film is reminiscent of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”, in that the interaction between the couples exposes the cracks in the facades of their seemingly “perfect” lives. 

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