Review Roundup: CARNAGE Film

Xan Brooks, The Guardian: The acting comes at full throttle while the pacing cranks up the tension in agonising, incremental degrees. At one point this is all too much for Nancy, who proceeds to vomit copiously over the coffee table, coating Penelope's cherished Oskar Kokoschka book. It is an astonishing scene, an icebreaker like no other. And at the Venice screening, the viewers greeted it with a wild abandon, howling with delight and applauding like thunder, perhaps relieved that someone had cracked before they did themselves.

David Gritten, The Telegraph: Initially polite, their meeting lapses into prejudiced attacks and furious rows. There's vomiting and drunkenness - a vase of tulips, a mobile phone and glossy art books are among the casualties. Waltz, as the rudest man in the room, gets the best lines. It's well-acted and giddily enjoyable, if slightly less so once the characters start to analyse their descent into barbarism.

Lee Marshall, Evening Standard: Little attempt is made to disguise the fact that this is the film of a play. And the dramatic gears grind a little during certain shifts of allegiance along couple and gender lines. But making the audience feel claustrophobic is central to Carnage's method: we're penned in, unable to leave this airless apartment with its collection of liberal gewgaws from component hi-fi to African totems to real logs (presumably never used) stacked by the marble fireplace.

Oliver Lyttelton, Indiewire: It's been a while since Polanski's done an out-and-out comedy (unless you count Pierce Brosnan‘s performance in "The Ghost Writer"-oh, snap!), and the good news is that "Carnage" is very, very funny. The play brought down houses around the world, and the director and his cast hit every beat with expert timing; there are moments here that rival anything we've seen in recent years for hilarity. There's often a darkly funny undertone to Polanski's work, but this reinforces that he's got a real knack for comedy, for perhaps the first time since "Fearless Vampire Killers," and we hope he doesn't neglect that particular muscle from here on out.


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