Friday, January 13, 2012

Carnage


I can't help but wonder what attracted legendary director Roman Polanski to this particular project?  This faithful adaptation of the Broadway hit 'God of Carnage' only boasts a cast of four (Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet, and Christoph Waltz) and takes place in just one location, a New York City apartment (aside from a very brief prologue and epilogue.)  And the premise is simple:  Two couples get together to discuss the fight their children had at the playground.  But what begins as calm, rational conversation slowly escalates.  So is that enough for a theatrically released feature film?  It turns out, for me, it is.

I actually saw the play on Broadway, starring Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, James Gandalfini, and Marcia Gay Harden, and it was really very enjoyable, albeit too short.  But I didn't for one minute think it would make a good feature film.  And had I even considered it, I never would have thought of Polanski to helm it.  It's quite different than his usual material.  But I guess that's what makes Polanski more of a visionary than I am.  He really didn't make many changes at all, but it still translates well to film and was just as enjoyable in its new form with a cast just as good as the original.  This is one for those who appreciate a simple story jam packed with fast, clever dialogue.  And just like my reaction to the original, my only complaint is it's too short.  (And I rarely say that about a movie.)  I just hope the trend of adapting the best of Broadway to feature films continues so I don't have to fork over $175 for 90 minutes of entertainment.  So go see this one for me.

Grade: A-

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