Even fantastic character films like Doubt and Closer find it hard to mask their theatrical origins; sure they throw in some nice sweeping shots of gorgeous external locations in between scenes shot in incredibly filmic locations, but as soon as the actors start talking (lots) the location becomes background and the one-two pitter-patter of dialogue is all that matters. It doesn’t make it a bad movie, but it does become a slave to its Broadway roots.
Carnage neatly side-steps this, whilst, in fact, being even more so. Set inside a single Brooklyn apartment it couldn’t be more stage bound, but run in real time, it’s as if removing the unnecessary ‘oh, let’s shove a loving non-relevant crane shot in here to wake the audience up’, it ignores the standard play-as-movie conventions and just gets on with the story it’s telling. And well it does tell this.
As these two couples discuss the fight between their sons that left one ‘disfigured’, It’s fascinating to see the layers peel back and the characters change and grow as the pretensions drop, pressure rises and alcohol flows. The confines of the four walls of their apartment give way to reveal the bars on the prison of their lives.
The parable on parenting soon parts to make way for a probe into partnerships.
In the lead roles are four masters at work here. Christopher Waltz is his usual delicious arrogant self, and Kate Winslet does ‘buttoned-up-come-undone’ so well, (although it is yet another role for Kate that made me think of her as a mature Rose from Titanic, slightly jaded after pushing Leo off her ample raft, and now trapped by loveless money). John C. Reilly always does an amazing turn as adorable teddy bear, but really hammers home what a vile monster he can be too.
And really, can anyone have too much of Jodie Foster losing it on their screen?
WHAT I’VE LEARNT
WHEN TO WATCH
WHEN NOT TO WATCH