Starring: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet,
John C. Reilly, Christoph
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 80 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics/Sony
Director: Roman Polanski
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Saïd Ben Saïd
Writer: Yasmina Reza, Roman Polanski
Address Comments To:Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom, Co-Presidents, Sony Pictures Classics (Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com; Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com
In the movie version, as in the stage version, the parents of the “victim,” Penelope and Michael, invite the liberal parents of the “bully,” Alan and Nancy, over for coffee to work out their issues. Penelope is a writer with a social conscience while her husband sells household goods as a wholesaler. Alan is a lawyer who’s constantly on his cellphone, while his wife Nancy is an investment broker.
Although her son was injured during the altercation, Penelope tries to play liberal peacemaker and get the violent boy to apologize, but her moralistic attitude and effort to control the discussion start to annoy Alan and Nancy. Meanwhile, Alan’s frequent business calls on his cellphone start to irk Michael and Penelope. Penelope is also annoyed that Alan’s trying to help a pharmaceutical company avoid problems because a moneymaking drug may not be good.
The polite conversation turns into a verbal battle. The thin veneer of liberal civilization starts to erode and even leads to strife between the spouses themselves. Eventually, the men and women gang up on one another, then the two couples themselves are back at it again.
Despite some complexities, the dialogue in CARNAGE can be reduced to the theme that, no matter how well intentioned, human beings are never very far from tearing one another apart. Thus, the movie, and the play, speaks to the biblical principle that all of us have a sinful nature. Alan’s character makes this point several times in the movie, but in a humanist, nihilistic way.
The problem is, CARNAGE doesn’t offer any solutions to the problem of sin. Also, the dialogue sometimes supports the idea that all morality is relative. In fact, a couple times, it suggests that morality is a completely utopian idea, a fantasy (which, of course, it is if there is no God). The result is that the movie avoids making any biblical points that our sinful nature is actually the result of mankind’s broken, crippled relationship with God. In fact, a last scene implies that, though their parents have been unable to resolve anything, the two boys just might. All this sends somewhat of a mixed message.
All in all, CARNAGE contains a mixed worldview with plenty of strong foul language. Extreme caution is advised.
Despite some complexities, the dialogue in CARNAGE can be reduced to the theme that, no matter how well intentioned, human beings are never very far from tearing one another apart. Thus, the story speaks to the biblical principle that all of us have a sinful nature. The problem is, CARNAGE doesn’t offer any solutions. Also, a last scene seems to contradict the main message. CARNAGE has a mixed worldview with strong foul language. Extreme caution is advised.