Polanski’s 2011 film Carnage, like last week’s The Exterminating Angel (1962, Bunuel), follows a group of people who seemingly cannot escape from a confined space.
One of the notable differences here is that Carnage is not a surrealist film, nor does it try to be. Carnage plays with the invisible forces of social niceties that exist in Western culture and shows just how far people are willing to go to upkeep their façade of politeness.
It is this politeness that middle-class couples Penelope and Michael Longstreet (played by Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster and Oscar-nominated John C. Reilly) and Alan and Nancy Cowan (Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, both Oscar-winners) ultimately break, the results of which are hilarious.
The Cowans are over at the Longstreets’ apartment because of an altercation that occurred between their sons at school: the Cowans’ son Zachary (played by Polanski’s real-life son, Elvis), “armed” with a stick, battered Ethan Longstreet in the mouth and caused irreversible damage to one of his teeth.
Almost the entirety of the film takes place in the Longstreets’ claustrophobic apartment as the two couples attempt to unite their sons and resolve their qualms.
In the process, the Longstreets and Cowans only make matters worse and begin quarrelling amongst themselves, and eventually between spouses.
Between endless cell phone interruptions, nerve-induced vomiting and a few glasses of the finest scotch, these two couples reveal themselves in ways that are both embarrassing and utterly hilarious.
Check out Polanski’s Carnage on Wednesday, April 2 at Artspace (378 Aylmer St.). The show is FREE as always and begins at 8pm. For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/trentfilmsociety or email us at [email protected]