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Saturday, October 22, 2011

CARNAGE

A NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL SELECTION

By D.E.Levine

Roman Polanski directed and co-wrote with playwright Yasmina Reza, this film about two couples who meet to discuss a "civilized" resolution to a fight between their two sons on a New York City playground.

Two couples, the Cowans and the Longstreets, meet at the Longstreets apartment to discuss resolution after a fight between their two sons where Cowans son broke one of the Longstreet boy's teeth.

Although the meeting starts off as civilized, it quickly disintegrates. The protagonist's father Alan Cowan (Chrisoph Waltz) is a lawyer for a pharmaceutical company who is always on his cell phone. He's actually the only character who realizes how senseless the meeting is while the other three individuals spend an enormous amount of time and energy senselessly trying to place blame.

While Penelope Longstreet(Jodie Foster) demands an apology on Longstreet turf, Nancy Cowan (Kate Winslet)starts stress-related vomiting, Michael Longstreet (John C. Reilly) tries to wash and dry Penelope's art books and catalogues with a hair dryer, and the situation rapidly disintegrates.

While the dispute may have been different, didn't Edward Albee do this years ago in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?"

In the end, the couples get on each others' nerves and also on the nerves of the audience. I was interested in what Roman Polanski did with the play, but it's not a great, or even an interesting film.