After two boys have a fight in a park, we follow the boys parents who after meeting and trying to solve things and stay civil, have things fall apart. Based off the play “God of Carnage” written by Yasmina Reza, she wrote the screen play and the film is directed by Roman Polanski. The film is set basically in one apartment and a hallway. So it is totally focused on acting which is great but mistakes can also be seen blatantly.
The two set of parents are played by John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster. Who are an odd mix. He owns a hardware store but likes the finer things in life(Expensive whiskey and cigars). Foster’s character is your stereotype of a liberal New Yorker. She collects art magazines and is trying to write about the Darfur conflict. Christophe Waltz and Kate Winslet play the other couple, he is a big shot lawyer who is always on his phone. They came off as very real to me. Waltz especially out acts everyone here and every one of his lines seemed special to me.
I really don’t have an opinion about Roman Polanski when it comes to why he can’t return to the United States…. For me he makes great movies. His recent “Ghost Writer” was a great film. Here though his great eye is really put in check. The film is essential just a play on screen, and that is what hurts it the most. Many scenes don’t seem real at all, it’s obviously a play, once you accept that you might be able to settle into the movie a little better. The style the film takes is interesting and Polanski does make some really fun choices as the film goes on, but it’s just not enough.
The script frankly holds the actors down, I like all four of these people but Reilly and Foster fail here and at times it’s hard to watch. Foster is given the hardest character but her line delivery it was just off. Every time she speaks it feels like a play, then when Winslet or Waltz or speaking it feels like a movie. That back and forth really hurts the film. It never feels real. The conversation they have is interesting though, about how American society looks at violence, how adults can easily still act like children. A good point the film shows is that people will put up facade’s that break down as alcohol is introduced. Still there isn’t enough here to get over the fact that the movie is so off balance between the script and the performances.
There is some other interesting facts about this film, the rumor is it cost $25 million to make. A film like this should never cost anything near that. I’m sure most of that price tag went to the actors salaries but my goodness that is a lot of cash. Also it seems Reilly came in later in the game that it was suppose to be James Gandolfini who was in the play. I guess over all I was just let down by the movie, it has great moments don’t get me wrong, it just should be stronger, like I know without seeing it that the Broadway play is better.