Thursday, September 1, 2011

Venice Film Festival: Carnage Reviews

So kind of like The Ides of March, Carnage debuted to mostly positive reviews, a few mixed, and all the attention seemingly focused on the performances of its cast. Apparently the film is zippy and fun, but doesn't seem like classic Polanski. That being said, it has definitely put its pedigree cast into Oscar contention, the standout being recent winner Christoph Waltz. In terms of Best Picture, it all depends on how the film festivals play out this month, and on how a broader consensus feels about the film. The script apparently has its issues, so it may turn out that the only awards attention it ends up getting is for its ensemble. That being said, you make your own decisions from the reviews below:

The Guardian (UK):

"That aside, the film barely puts a foot wrong. The acting comes at full throttle while the pacing cranks up the tension in agonising, incremental degrees. At one point this is all too much for Nancy, who proceeds to vomit copiously over the coffee table, coating Penelope’s cherished Oskar Kokoschka book. It is an astonishing scene, an icebreaker like no other. And at the Venice screening, the viewers greeted it with a wild abandon, howling with delight and applauding like thunder, perhaps relieved that someone had cracked before they did themselves."

Variety is a little less enthusiastic, but still positive:

"Couple turns against couple, husbands against wives, and the tulips, handbags and bodily fluids begin to fly, in a payoff that has as much zing here as it did in the play. Yet while “Carnage” is still largely a hoot, it never divorces itself from the talky trappings of the stage; the considerable effort expended to let the piece breathe onscreen merely exposes its underlying artifice, making it fairly easy to reject Reza’s thesis that individuals live in a natural state of opposition according to gender, class and personal philosophy. "

Finally, The Playlist was pretty mixed, taking aim at Polanski:

"But it’s also a film of very little ambition, a minor entry in the director’s canon. Perhaps it was just the desire to shoot something fast and quick after his brush with justice, which is certainly understandable, but he has essentially taken a pre-existing script, cast four A-listers, locked them in a room, and shot it. There are few directorial flourishes beyond a firmly Polanski-esque opening shot, and almost nothing to enable the identification of the movie as a Polanski picture; for once in his career, it feels like almost anyone could have directed it."

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