Tag Archives: Jodie Foster

Carnage

Thankfully, the title of Roman Polanski’s brisk, four-character comedy of manners Carnage is the most distressing thing about it. A Manhattan-set adaptation of Yazmina Reza’s French play The God of Carnage, this sneaky chamber piece casts a beady eye over the fallout of an incident in which one schoolboy injures the other with a branch. In a nice touch, the incident is shown underneath the opening credits in a distant, Michael Haneke-esque long take.

The boys’ parents (the perpetrator’s played by Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, the victim’s John C Reilly and Jodie Foster) convene to sort out the mess, but before long they are arguing with other, and riffing on all sorts of issues of parenting, class, wealth and relationships. Also, it seems that deep down, they all really, really hate each other.

At just 79 minutes, Carnage is lean, but even so starts to feel a little stretched by the end, as the escalating hysteria of the characters (inspired by copious whisky consumption) becomes a touch enervating. The underlying theme is that adults are just as capable of behaving as appallingly as children, and the cast demonstrate this with absolute relish. Christoph Waltz has a field day as the unctuous, smug lawyer Alan, and Kate Winslet gives brilliant drunk. Jodie Foster’s portrayal of a neurotic writer feels rather forced, but it’s a type of role I’ve never seen her play before, and is least a refreshing change. John C Reilly is also excellent, but may need to consider disassociating himself from roles in films which feature subplots about cruelty toward hamsters (see this and We Need To Talk About Kevin). The RSCPA will be onto him before long.

Although (*COLOSSAL INSIGHT ALERT*) Carnage feels rather stagey and a tad contrived, the dialogue is sharp, the apartment set feels appropriately claustrophobic and there are plenty of laughs to be had, the majority of them excruciating. Fans of movie vomiting scenes will also be delighted to find there is a sequence (sickuence?) which nearly matches that of Team America: World Police for comedy/gross-out value.

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“The beaver picture?” “Beaver? Uhhh, you mean… vagina?”

A beaver, yesterday

It’s been a whopping 13 years since Jim Carrey brought us all to tears in Liar Liar. And a scarcely believable 17 since Robin Williams did the same in Mrs Doubtfire. So we salute you, Mel Gibson, for stepping forward to fill the inadequate-Dad-on-inevitable path-to-rehabilitation-and-reconciliation-movie shaped hole in all our lives with your new film, The Beaver.

Yes, The Beaver, in which an alcoholic loser (Gibson – I’m saying nothing) begins a tentative, and ultimately transformative friendship with a discarded toy beaver, which he wears on his hand. The beaver (voiced by Gibson, in a particularly poor attempt at ventriloquism) sounds like Ray Winstone playing an Australian playing a Cockney.

The whole twisted enterprise looks like a deranged cross between the Mitch Connor episode of South Park, when Cartman’s hand becomes Jennifer Lopez, and the sequence in William Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’ when a man takes his talented asshole on tour with him as a double act, only for his asshole to get too big for its boots and take over.

The newly-released trailer is below (be warned, your mind will be blown. Blown to the extent that it may never work again in the same way). This gets 10-out-of-10 on the WTF? scale.

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