Movie Review: Carnage [2011]

Carnage [2011]

Carnage [2011]
Director: Roman Polanski
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly
Runtime: 80 Minutes

Two eleven year old boys are arguing in the park. We don’t know what about, but does it matter? That’s what kids do. One of the children, Zachary, strikes the other, Ethan, across the face with a large stick. Now we have a messy situation on our hands, complete with a missing tooth and some serious dentalwork needing to be done. This incident brings the parents of the two children together to discuss treatment and punishment options.

And so begins Carnage.

Zachary’s parents, Alan and Nancy Cowan (Waltz & Winslet), visit the home of Ethan’s parents, Michael and Penelope Longstreet (Reilly & Foster), with the intention of quickly dealing with the problem. Somehow this quick visit turns into an elongated stay, and the entire movie takes place in this stationary apartment.

Carnage [2011]

With this decision, much of the film’s weight is placed on the shoulders of its stars. Thankfully, this is an absolutely all-star veteran cast. Foster, Reilly, Winslet and Waltz are all terrific, and they do their part to make sure this dialogue-heavy film is not hampered by the one-shot location.

Each character has their own quirks, and they all have a certain sense of pride. When little remarks here and there are interpreted as sly insults, the discussion grows heated, and it doesn’t take long for everyone to start ragging on each other. In this regard, “Carnage” is an apt title for the film, as there are some heavy blows dealt to the egos of all involved.

Carnage is a fun, brief film that really picks up once the bottle of scotch comes out. There are moments I could have done without, such as Alan’s frequent phone calls and Nancy’s moments where she gets sick, but for the most part this is an entertaining ride with a tight script.


19 thoughts on “Movie Review: Carnage [2011]

  1. JustMeMike says:

    I’ve not seen it yet. It did play in my town but for whatever reason, I chose other films to get my film going budget. I’ll wait for Netflix to offer.

    From what I’ve read- it seems a worthwhile film to see. Thanks for this very good review. I’ll check out your review of Drive which I did see and reviewed.


    • Eric says:

      Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by! Carnage is a fun little movie, but it’s not one that absolutely must be seen in the theater. We opted for it because we were in the mood for a comedy, and that was pretty much our only option, haha. It turned out to be a good choice!

  2. CMrok93 says:

    I thought the ending was very weak and disappointing. The whole movie was great, especially Winslet and Foster and Waltz was amazingly funny. Desplat music was very good – that opening scene would miss so much without it. Great review Eric.

    • Eric says:

      Hi Dan, somehow your comment got buried in my spam folder, so I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I thought the ending of Carnage was abrupt, but appropriate given the context of the film. Glad to hear you enjoyed the rest of the movie!

  3. rtm says:

    This is one of those films I’d only see because of the cast. It’s playing in my indie theater near me, I’ll see if I can catch it before they yank it away.

  4. Dan says:

    I’ve heard mixed things about this but I like the cast and I love films set in a short space of time that take place in one main location. So I think I’ll enjoy this.

  5. nevertooearlymp says:

    Just more proof that if you want to find out what someone really thinks, you need to give them a drink first! For me Winslet and Waltz were the best parts, which either means that I’m more able to laugh at those type of people, or that I AM one of those types of people!

    • Eric says:

      Haha, ain’t that the truth! I really enjoyed the entire cast in this movie, and felt all four complemented each other quite well. Thanks for stopping by, NTEMP!

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