I disliked ‘Carnage‘. I didn’t find it funny, I found it mundane, boring, name a negative, that would describe my experience. With such an acclaimed director and a multi-award winning cast, I honestly didn’t expect such disastrous results. The concept of the four parents in one room, arguing over their children and how they should be treated after a ‘stick incident’ for less than 80 minutes sounded funny, quirky and quick. The jokes soon tired.
The aforementioned ‘award-winning cast’ consists of: John C. Reilly, best known for appearing as Will Ferrell’s sidekick in ‘Step Brothers’ and ‘Talladega Nights’. Jodie Foster is his husband, the veteran actress, and winner of two Oscars, fellow Oscar ‘Best Actress’ winner, Kate Winslet is the mother of the attacker, Zachary Cowan. ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Christoph Waltz, is partner of Winslet. A great cast on paper, but the only one of these who didn’t annoy me during the film was Reilly, who fit the humour well, whilst the others just weren’t funny enough in my opinion.
I know it is originally based on a play, but it is one of those that doesn’t translate well onto the big screen. The challenge of having four people in one room for an hour and a half demands that the actors have a ‘funny’ personality. Waltz’s demeanour in this is uptight and professional, a necessity for his character perhaps, but he never loosens up, and, in my personal opinion, he looks disinterested throughout, there only for the pay cheque. Winslet also, is never really there, is disappointing and is certainly no comedienne, whilst Foster does put 100% in, and if she pops in a couple of the few funny gags.
The story, too, is way too mundane. The number of times the Cowan’s (Winslet and Waltz), are JUST about to leave the Longstreet’s (Reilly and Foster), then some miraculous event prevents them, is ridiculous. I wanted them to leave as early as the five minute mark. Also, Waltz’s character seems only able to make inane phone calls throughout, barely interacting with his own wife and the two parents he’s come to meet. The gag stops being funny really fast, and you wonder if disgraced director Roman Polanski is really laughing at us, the audience, for putting up with this mess.
I understand, that a lot of my criticisms are social commentaries, designed to highlight the shallowness of some, and how we all have the tendency to self-destruct, but I just felt it too pretentious as these ideas were developed. It was rarely funny, barely ‘enlightening’ and full of so-so performances, from those who could do much, much better.
‘Carnage’, is probably the worst, most boring film, I’ve seen since ‘The Expendables’, another car-crash of a film. If the next film I see, most likely to be the new ‘Muppets’ film, is anyway near as woeful as this, I might just give up on the film industry.