Yasmina Reza and writer/director Roman Polanski adapt her Tony Award-winning play God of Carnage for the screen and cast Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz as the four characters in the story.
Two couples get together after the teenage son of one hits the teenage son of the other with a big stick. It causes hundreds of dollars in damage to his teeth. They sit down to discuss who is at fault, why and what to do about the tiff.
It leads to a love-hate relationship and heavy talk about parenting, jobs, animals, gangs, drinking, sex, obsession with work, obsession with consumables, food and other interesting bits.
Foster and Winslet are so good they got Golden Globe nominations. Reilly and Waltz aren’t bad either.
Waltz — who got award ignored — is the best of the four characters and produces the best acting. Every time the conversation really gets good, his character gets a cell phone call from work and the flow stops. It’s irritating and brilliantly so. Few actors could pull it off as well as the Oscar-winning (Inglourious Bastards) Waltz.
But there are warts. Plays are great on stage. They don’t often translate well to the big screen. That’s the case of Carnage. Edits slow the flow of the dialogue. Conversation so critical to the stage becomes chunky and sometimes unfocused. You feel like you’re eavesdropping on something that shouldn’t really concern you and that you ought to tune out.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for language, mature themes. It opens Friday, January 13 at the Carmike 12
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.