Carnage

Critics Consensus

It isn't as compelling on the screen as it was on the stage, but Carnage makes up for its flaws with Polanski's smooth direction and assured performances from Winslet and Foster.

70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 196

66%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 22,221

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Movie Info

When some roughhousing between two 11-year-old boys named Zachary and Ethan erupts into real violence, Ethan loses two teeth. Zachary's parents, Alan and Nancy Cowen (Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz), meet with Ethan's parents, Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly), to try to smooth things over. However, what starts as a polite meeting among adults descends into finger-pointing, tantrums and insults. Based on the play "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza.

Cast & Crew

Jodie Foster
Penelope Longstreet
Kate Winslet
Nancy Cowen
John C. Reilly
Michael Longstreet
Elvis Polanski
Zachary Cowan
Eliot Berger
Ethan Longstreet
Joseph Rezwin
Walter (telephone voice)
Voice
Nathan Rippy
Dennis (telephone voice)
Voice
Roman Polanski
Screenwriter
Yasmina Reza
Screenwriter
Saïd Ben Saïd
Producer
Pawel Edelman
Cinematographer
Alexandre Desplat
Original Music
Dean Tavoularis
Production Design
Franckie Diago
Set Decoration
Milena Canonero
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for Carnage

Critic Reviews for Carnage

All Critics (196) | Top Critics (57) | Fresh (138) | Rotten (58)

Audience Reviews for Carnage

  • Jan 06, 2014
    Why can't they leave? From <i>El Ángel Exterminador</i> (1962), the answer has been implied. "It's absurd, but it's in their nature. They just can't!" Based on Yasmina Raza's play titled <i>Le Dieu du Carnage</i> (God of Carnage), Polanski adapts wonderfully and with a truly underrated array of great, though theatrical performances (especially Foster, who gets a lot of unfair criticism) a roller-coaster intellectual exercise of how your typical middle-class veil of politeness and mutual caring is broken down when either your ethical, social or moral standards are challenged by external factors that you cannot avoid because you were unwillingly involved in them since the very beginning. In this case, such factor is the son of a family hitting the son of the other. Catalogued in my book as one of the best "verbally gory" films, <i>Carnage</i> seems to carry some <i>Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf</i> (1966) parallelism of degradation, moral assault and lots of liquor, while two couples unrealistically, though justifiably theatrically, "word" each other to death, taking contradictory sides when the situation seems convenient and mirroring the impulses that they so much condemn in minors. After all, the immature impulses of adults are not that much different, now are they? Unfortunately, the adaptation to the big screen seems to drag along some unrealistic moments that seem to be placed in order for the plot to advance, e.g., the Cowans reaching the elevator twice and still not leaving because of secondary coffee invitations. Those moments could have been easily rewritten. Also, "realistically", any couple would have left after 15 or 20 minutes of arguing, so the script asks us to some suspension of disbelief and dig deeper into the original social criticisms and statements that the original material (the play) had instead of judging the film in terms of cinematic realism. Still, Polanski is still an expert in scenario construction and suspense escalation, not as masterfully as Hitchcock's single-location mysteries would manage, but more or less as interestingly as Polanski did in the 60s. 79/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 12, 2013
    Too unsubstantial to be a great movie. Pretty much two couples in one room arguing about a physical fight their sons got into. I believe it is adapted from a play. As such it feels unnatural and strained that they all stay in the room, annoyed as they are at each other. Performances are good. I'm not a parent, so the topic was not overly exciting to me. Maybe others would get more out of it.
    Nicki M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2013
    I did not know that this story was a play until right before watching this film. With that knowledge I enjoyed this much more. The performances were good and it felt as though I was watching a play. The apartment serves as the stage as it does not move or change. I thought the concept was well put together with Polanski behind the camera.
    Chris C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 25, 2012
    It's an atypical theatrical adaptation which works thanks to a top cast.
    Marcus W Super Reviewer

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