Roman Polanski may not be known for comedy; his last, Pirates, was 25 years ago and hardly a bundle of laughs.
But Carnage is a scream, an outrageous comedy of manners that exposes prejudice, hypocrisy and lies among the middle classes, and is wonderfully unhindered by decorum.
Adapted from Yasmina Reza's play The God Of Carnage, this remains a four-hander, but with the setting switched from Paris to New York. After a fight between two boys in a local park, the parents of the victim, Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster, John C Reilly) invite those of the bully, Nancy and Alan Cowan (Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz) to their home, in a bid to deal with the problem amicably. The meeting goes well, and the Cowans prepare to leave, their task of token apology achieved. But Penelope wants more; she wants to hear it from the boy. With the elevator in sight, the Cowans return to the apartment.
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