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Review: Carnage

Claustrophobic close encounters
By PETER KEOUGH  |  January 10, 2012
3.0 3.0 Stars

As befits someone with jail time hanging over his head, Roman Polanski does his best work in close quarters. From Knife in the Water, to Repulsion, to The Tenant and The Pianist, he's a master of claustrophobic close encounters, and as such has a good time adapting Yasmin Reza's play, God of Carnage. In it two couples (John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster; Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) meet to resolve their sons' after-school altercation; predictably, the parents' civilized veneer soon wears thin, revealing the hypocrisy, meanness, and pathetic delusions underneath. By the time they break out the single-malt Scotch, you wonder when someone will suggest playing "Hump the Hostess." The cast delights in the mordant dialogue, in particular Waltz, who regains the insouciant malice of Inglourious Basterds, and Foster, who reels from idealism to self-loathing. Too bad it gets repetitious, but not in a good way, like, say, Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel. Now that's real carnage.

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