Critic Reviews



Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Think "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," but then think fun.
The film's an even four-hander, with awful behavior spread evenly among the characters and spellbinding performances by the quartet of co-leads.
Snappy, nasty, deftly acted and perhaps the fastest paced film ever directed by a 78-year-old, this adaptation of Yasmina Reza's award-winning play God of Carnage fully delivers the laughs and savagery of the stage piece.
Is it entertainment? Is it satire? Is it art? It's probably a little of all three, and yet ultimately not quite enough of any.
But it does mean you're always aware that you're watching filmed theater - a scripted pressure-cooker where playability is being allowed to trump plausibility as theoretically cultivated adults morph into savages - going from civility to carnage in 80 minutes flat.
While the talented quartet play these hypocritical sorts with finesse, the story grows tiresome, its cynical point made early and often.
It's a shame neither actress can truly "go for the jugular," as Alan says at one point. This is a work that would allow for it.
In such an audience stroker, where casting is everything (on Broadway, James Gandolfini brought exciting menace to the role of Mr. Longstreet), Winslet and Waltz jell while Foster and Reilly flounder, unable to make sense of what kind of people they're supposed to be.
The film version of Carnage hasn't just lost God from its title, it's lost the laughs from the play that brought it life.
The film isn't half as deep as intended, but parts of it are very funny - someone actually barfs onto a stack of art books - and the parts that aren't may as well be.
I was put off by the acting, or more properly by the spectacle of good actors dutifully following leaden direction, and equally by the writing, which is as thin as the veneer of civilization it purports to peel back.

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