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"Carnage" Film Review

Updated on March 16, 2014
Christopher Waltz and Kate Winslet
Christopher Waltz and Kate Winslet | Source
Jodie Foster/Penelope Longstreet
Jodie Foster/Penelope Longstreet
John C. Reilly/Michael Longstreet
John C. Reilly/Michael Longstreet
Christopher Waltz/Alan Cowan
Christopher Waltz/Alan Cowan
Jodie Foster & Kate Winslet
Jodie Foster & Kate Winslet | Source


If you liked Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? directed by Mike Nichols you'll probably enjoy Roman Polanski's Carnage although Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christopher Waltz don't quite match up to Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis and George Segal. Carnage is more of a comedy than Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf which, if memory serves, didn't offer a lot of laughs.


Penelope Longstreet--a "do gooder" who writes about the starving people in Africa.............Jodie Foster

Michael Longstreet--household furnishings salesman......................................John C. Reilly

Nancy "Doodles" Cowan--successful investment broker............................................Kate Winslet

Alan Cowan--lawyer who defends crooked drug companies.........................Christopher Waltz

Carnage is based on a French play by Yasmina Reza. It's set in the Longstreet's New York City apartment where four parents are gathered to discuss an in incident in which a playground dispute between Cowan's and Longstreet's young sons ended in a serious injury to the Longstreet's child who was hit in the face with a stick of of wood by the Cowan's son. Penelope Longstreet proposed the meeting to discuss and amicably resolve the issue of what to do about the incident. The two husbands agreed, reluctantly, to the meeting.

The Longstreets and the Cowans are caricatures of American archetypes--the corporate lawyer helping a greedy drug company avoid the consequences from hiding the serious side effects of a drug; the ambitious, attractive career woman; the bleeding heart liberal woman and her husband, an insensitive, cigar smoking, hard drinking salesman. The movie covers only the hour-and-a-half meeting in the Longstreet's apartment which begins civilly but progressively degenerates into "carnage" among all the participants. Alan Cowan is interrupted at least 20 times by crisis calls on his Blackberry from his Big Pharma client about what to do about its failure to disclose serious side effects from one of its drugs. His advice boils down to "don't admit anything," and "hold the public statements" until after the annual stockholder's meeting two weeks hence. He has little or no interest in the discussion about the playground incident other than avoiding a personal injury lawsuit by the Longstreets. Penelope and Nancy are at first inclined to be polite and conciliatory as was Michael Longstreet. However, the discussion soon degenerates into verbal and physical mayhem, especially after Michael breaks out a bottle of his 18-year-old single malt Scotch. Soon, the Longstreets are fighting with the Cowans and the husbands are fighting with their wives. Jodie Foster displayed especially intense wrath at Christopher Waltz and at her husband, John C. Reilly Some in the audience found the movie hilarious but others reacted uncomfortably to the battling characters. A.O. Scott's review linked below is well worth reading.

Rated PG13 for profanity.

"Carnage" official trailer


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    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Muchas gracias.

    • barranca profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Ralph, I watched this at your recommendation and liked it a lot. Polanski still has the right stuff. Loved the acting. Great script. Loved the way it skewered liberals. Give me the hamster's eye view any day.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      7 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks. Remember, it's supposed to be a social commentary comedy. I found it quite funny, but some of the audience was silent and perhaps horrified.

    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      This is such a succinct descriptive analysis of the movie. I was interested in the movie beforehand and now I can't wait to see it! You did an excellent review, Ralph, thanks.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your kind comment.

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      8 years ago from Austin, TX

      Its a lovely description of the movie...sounds great!!!

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks, Nina. I'm sure you'll enjoy "Carnage."

    • profile image

      Nina Meister 

      8 years ago

      Yes... I thoroughly enjoyed and applauded "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf"?

      I am looking forward to this one.

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks! I think you'll like the movie.

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      8 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Sound very funny! I thought you were writing a political hub but found instead a fascinating summary if a movie I did not know existed. I look forward to enjoying it at some future date. Thanks.


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