Story By The Native NewYorker

CARNAGE: Was captivated by the filmmaker’s brilliant vision!

Jodie Foster

I’ve always been an avid fan of Roman Polanski. I mean, if you love film, how could you not be? Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, last year’s terrific Ghostwriter … just epic works. His personal life aside, his work is consistently mesmerizing. Last night we caught a preview of his new film, Carnage; the screen-adaption of the sensation play God Of Carnage by Parisian-based playwright Yasmina Reza and again was captivated by the filmmaker’s brilliant vision. As I said to my companion on the way in, who hadn’t seen the play: The plot is very minimal, it all happens essentially in one location. The basic plot centers on two sets of parents, whose two sons have gotten into a fisticuffs, with one of them attacking the other resulting in some dental damage. The parents each defend their kids and then do a sudden turn-about and blame the other one … and, then they each blame their parental ways. As the afternoon wears on, with liquor, cigars and one questionable cobbler, all coming into play, we see their attitudes change as personal shortcomings come to light in one of the best narratives I’ve seen and heard in years. Reza wrote the terrific play Art several years back that Alan Alda excelled in on Broadway. She possesses a terrific knack for dialogue and the way she weaves it together is nothing short of brilliant. The cast: Kate Winslet; Christoph Waltz; John C. Reilly and Jodi Foster are each just astounding. Each of them deliver a towering performance; personally, I loved Waltz who was so good in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds. Hard to believe that that film was his first American performance. He is, astonishing. I’ve never seen Foster deliver a more personal performance; as her character's rather reserved veneer is finally pulled apart and the anguish of her character becomes very real; Winslet who grows with every performance is the elegant-and-proper investment banker, but soon is slashing-and-burning with the best of them. Reilly, who has never really moved me before is spot-on perfect as the husband of Foster who has been forced to be a little too reserved; and, is more than up for the battle. He too, comes alive. When I saw the play, the cast included Jimmy Smits, Annie Potts, Christine Lahti and Ken Stott, who originally was in the cast when the play first premiered in London. Stott also appeared in the London production of Art as well. Polanski has changed very little in his screen translation; the names have been subtlety altered and there’s a closing shot that mirrors his opening shot. Face it, the action here is in the guts of the play and his production is economical and spot-on. Some of his shots in the apartment where this all takes place are deceptively brilliant. When Waltz takes one his many phone calls in front of a mirror; in the mirror you see the other characters reactions. This movie stands up in the Polanski-cannon as one of his best. I consider his movie my first gift of the season. Brilliant!

Photos By: RD/Kirkland/Retna