In New York's Brooklyn Bridge park, eleven year old Zachary strikes his eleven year old classmate Ethan. The boy's parents learn of the fight and meet to deal with the incident. Although the meeting starts civilized, it quickly degenerates after an unfortunate incident, and soon, their meeting is not only about their boys' fight, but also the couple's fitness as parents,Written by
A Bushel and a Peck
Written by Frank Loesser
(p) 2011 SBS Productions
Used by permission of Frank Music Corp. (ASCAP) See more »
The carnage left over after a verbal battle of wits
"Carnage" is about the carnage that is left over as two couples get together to discuss their sons' recent altercation. It's a play. Not just based on a play, but I'm pretty sure it is the play, word-for-word, scene-for-scene. But make that just one scene. One room, one afternoon, four characters. What makes it even more unique, is that it's a comedy. I don't think I've ever seen a comedy this simplistic in its setting.
Jodie Foster plays Penelope, she's the passive-aggressive wife and mother; her husband is played John C. Reilly and he just wants to make nice; their son was the victim. Kate Winslet's Nancy also just wants to make nice; her husband is played by Christoph Waltz and he's the aggressive-aggressive one; their son was the abuser.
I know what you're thinking. Is it really that easy to declare one 11 year-old boy the victim and the other the abuser? Aren't they both somewhat to blame for whatever occurred? Well, you try telling that to Foster's Penelope. After the 1 hour and 20 minute straight verbal battle, I am staying clear.
"Carnage" is funny because we know what each character is really thinking under their sincere, or false-sincere, passive cover. Eventually, once a bottle of scotch gets consumed, they admit to their feelings, and surprisingly, it still remains funny. That is where the brilliance of the writing comes in. You could apply the old adage, "it's funny because it's true." But there is something to these movies about the real human and family relations accurately displayed beneath a comedy banner.
Being a comedy, "Carnage" fared well enough getting Golden Globe nominations, but I am a little miffed at the lack of screenplay nominations. Then again, that's what happens when it is written and directed by Roman Polanski. I don't blame Hollywood for not always wanting to award him. If you don't want to reward him either, then find the play version of "Carnage". I'm sure it's just as good.
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