(Apologies for the previously unfinished post that somehow got published)
My rating: 8
IMDB rating: 7.2
I want to stress the fact that this is not a horror (not in the traditional sense anyway). This movie is based on a play by a very famous French playwright Yasmina Reza, called God of Carnage (Le dieu du Carnage). And although the plot takes a somewhat unusual turn, the destruction of etiquette with regards to the characters takes perhaps a more ‘normal’ approach…
The Merriam Webster defines ‘carnage’ as:
1. the flesh of slain animals or men
2. great and usually bloody slaughter or injury (as in battle)
This story, that revolve around two very different types of couples certainly refer to the second definition. ‘The fight’ that ensues as a result of the dispute between their children can easily give you the picture of a great and bloody (emotional) slaughter/injury.
I believe that the fundamental difference between these characters was the fact that one couple was in touch with their shortcomings, while the other couple’s relationship was fed on denial and outward appearances.
Nancy and Alan are aware of the fact that they maybe do not spend enough time with their child, they could face the fact that their marriage is not perfect and their expectation of one another is founded on knowledge of one another.
Penelope and Michael appears to be, at first, the couple who is more in control and who is founded on the ‘correct’ principles. In spite of this appearance, they soon start to fray at the edges and it becomes apparent that they have inconsolable differences, especially with regard to child rearing. The outward façade of calmness is soon frayed as it becomes clear that it is all an act that they put on for the benefit of their situation.
This does not mean that the Cowans does not also portray a certain amount of ‘fakeness’. Nancy is fed up with both her own ‘fakeness’ and the ‘fakeness’ of the upperclass New York society that it literally makes her sick. Penelope, on the other hand, study African societies and their culture, especially in times of war, and in spite of that chooses to conform to the norms of Western society (unable to face its futility) more than anyone else in this film. She therefore shows no introspection.
Besides the characters that are so interesting (and which one can dedicate a whole thesis to), the space in this movie is also very interesting. First of all, this is the film version of a play and therefore, as in the play, the action is situated in a single space. The more the relationships between the characters is exposed, the more this space is destroyed (ex. the barfing, the destruction of the tulips etc.). Polanski, is probably one of the only directors alive that can do so much with one single space. The shots remind one a lot of the shots within Rosemary’s apartment in Rosemary’s Baby (Read my review on Rosemary’s Baby). It explores and personalises the space, while still remaining a voyeuristic eye…
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