Adapted by director Roman Polanski and writer Yasmina Reza from Reza’s play God of Carnage, Carnage gives us two couples (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet) discussing a recent altercation between their sons when one strikes the other with a stick in the park.
What starts as civil discussion of the events soon leads the couples turn on each other and then their own spouses as all pretense is washed away. Think of it as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf Lite.
The story would probably have worked better for me on stage where the characters are forced to remain on stage in the apartment where the audience can continue to watch the action unfold. The attempts at civility used to keep both couples together don’t work as well on film where we know the camera can follow them out, and there are more than a couple of moments that should bring events to a close.
Carnage isn’t a bad film, and all four of the performances are worth seeing, but it’s not all that memorable either. Those expecting one of Roman Polanski’s best are bound to be a little disappointed. Simply put, he’s better than the material he’s working with here.
Extras on the Blu-ray and DVD include a behind-the-scenes making of the film featurette, a Q&A with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz,” the film’s trailer, and some footage of the cast from this year’s Golden Globe Awards.
[Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Blu-ray $35.99 / DVD $30.99]