Black humor. That’s how I would describe Roman Polanski’s ‘Carnage. Sometimes shocking, it actually made me laugh. It reveals the bad in us, all our self deceptions, all our prejudices, our way of patronizing others and feeling better that the rest.
Two married couples meet at one of the couple’s place to mitigate a conflict that appeared between their 10-year old sons. One of the sons kicked the other in the face with a stick and broke two teeth. Now the couples are trying to sort things in a very calm and diplomatic way, they try to make peace between their kids. One couple, him, acting like a teddy bear, always trying to understand the others and be nice, her – a humorless woman, always serious and dramatic, defending human rights. The other couple, two corporate diplomatic persons, acting like they are there to solve a conflict between two companies and not a family affair.
The discussions start in a very friendly manner, the two couples even declare in private that they like each other, that they are nice. But, what at first looks like a conventional, polite discussion, soon turns into a claustrophobic conflict. All social inhibitions are abandoned, all good manners are gone. The two couples start offending each other, fighting, criticizing. In the end a dramatic distance appears between the members of the two couples and, eventually, both marriages start tearing apart.
This doesn’t sound too much fun, but the laughing actually comes from the situations the two couples go through and the languages they use. Kate Winslet’s character vomits on the living room table after eating an apple and pear pie, Jodie Foster is mocked by her husband and Christoph Waltz just doesn’t care about anything and manages to piss all of the others off.
This film may not appeal to just anyone. Some will not find at all entertaining to watch four people argue in one apartment for one and a half hour. But for those who will, they will discover some great actors, with amazing performances playing rather uncomfortable, but yet ironic and amusing roles.