Carnage already had almost instantly become an immediate attraction to all audiences due to its sophisticating ensemble cast who have delivered some of the best performances in various films over the past 20 years, and of course, an iconic director behind it all who makes an altered change in comparison to his other films as he makes something entirely different after being best known for crime-mysteries, horror and dramas throughout his career. So, with all these beneficial aspects behind it and having not much valuable experience with the comedy genre, Carnage is truly a hilarious but extremely underrated black-comedy that very closely resembles the comical ingenious qualities of situation-comedy television shows.
Due to the very short duration of the film, that it is set in one entire day and is in pretty much one particular location and the numerous sparks between the characters, the aspects within the genre of situation-comedies really begin to kick in with Carnage. These aspects particular include the fact that although they go in and still try to get out of the situation that they are in with some good news or some kind of positive outcome, there is literally nothing within the film that can be done civilly without pure hell breaking loose. Plus, including the laughs and the disasters that occur within Carnage, hidden secrets begin to unveil about each of the characters that slowly begin to reflect their true nature and leads to questions.
The added spice to the film is the ensemble cast that features three out of four Academy Award winning actors. Firstly, Jodie Foster is perhaps the leading and most vital character from the quadruple as she is the passive-aggressive wife and mother. Foster goes into two whole new depths whilst portraying Penelope as she goes from this emotionally confused and worrying mother to a rather psychologically deranged woman with some anger and mentality issues. Secondly, any film starring Kate Winslet (especially alongside a well-known and famous director), you’d always expect her to give a grand performance and gladly she achieves this once again. Kate has mostly been part of emotional dramas throughout her career thus far but there is a wildly funny side to her that has been born and would crave to see her continue to do in the future. Both Foster and Winslet rightfully deserved their Golden Globe nominations but perhaps should have gained even more fame for their performances in Carnage.
Ever since his Academy Award winning role in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, Christoph Waltz is really becoming a new Hollywood star as he collaborates with another notable director in a role that is different but somewhat familiar to what we have seen him be most famous for in the past. What is meant by this is that although Waltz’s character Alan in Carnage, he is still quite the dark, manipulative guy but is still very funny and brings forth such strong chemistry with on-screen wife Kate. Now, last but not least, Oscar-nominated actor John C. Reilly is perhaps the most sophisticated one of the four regarding the comedy genre and he delivers a grand performance in the film as well that fulfils the complete package of successful acting from an ensemble cast.
From the likes of his greatest films throughout his 50+ year career such as Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, Tess, The Ninth Gate, The Pianist and most recently The Ghost Writer in 2010, Roman Polanski alters from his vintage genres of horror, thriller and drama to something that we hadn’t seen frequently from him: black comedy. Polanski’s work in Carnage identically resembles what Mike Nichols bought forth in Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? back in 1966 with the extremely argumentative attitudes between the characters, the time settings with them mutually being set in a single day and most importantly, a somewhat related style of humour. Polanski collaborates with the original writer of the play – Yasmina Reza to write the script and together they write it absolutely brilliantly, which is another strong aspect within the film that has been snubbed by the various award organisations.
Overall, Carnage is a film that is beyond anything than what you’d expect and how it looks. You’d really expect some kind of normal suburban drama with one or two slight laughs in store but when you watch it, the laughs simply do not stop until the film ends. It is a fine jumble of suburban drama, disaster/slapstick comedy and situation-comedy, so if you’re a fan of any one of these, then Carnage and everything that it consists of, is a solid recommendation for you that you’d find incredibly fun and that you’d laugh until it hurts. Polanski and the ensemble cast make this a special treat that is definitely one of the funniest black-comedies you’ll and replies to some unanswered and unrecognisable forbidden characteristics of human nature and both their individual and social behaviour.