If I were a movie critic I’d be chronically behind the times. I shy away from movies that are popular. I don’t think I’ll ever see “Avatar” or anything labeled “Shrek.” It took me years to get to “Titanic.” Too damned successful.
However, I’ve watched Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” four times in the last couple of weeks. I recall some coolness from critics about it when it came out, but I think it’s a tour de force. It has the Aristotelian unities that come from good stage plays (Yasmina Reza’s in this case).
Four characters within the confines of an apartment and hallway rip each other to shreds (psychologically) in less than a day. I get hilarity-bends over the entire spectacle. I don’t want to examine too closely my propensity to laugh when things are going to hell.
It’s trite to call “Carnage” a dark comedy. It’s better than that. Jody Foster, as “Penelope” (“Darjeeling” to her husband Michael), can ape an engine gunned to the limits of the nuts and bolts that hold it together as well as any actress I know.
Cristoph Waltz, a hunk with a Dick Tracy chin, is masterful as the corporate pettifogger constantly running interference for his Big Pharma client on the cellphone from, yes, hell again.
Kate Winslet (“Doodle” to her husband the pettifogger) exudes edgy class, and suffers his callousness with winces (and hurling) until she doesn’t any more.
John C. Reilly mimics a “mitigator” to the point that he can no longer keep his shirt on, by which time he’s snarling “I love you” to his mother and sucking a cold stogie.
I liked the movie. You might.
(Copyright 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.)