Carnage, Roman Polanski's latest film, after The Ghost Writer, stars Jodie Foster, John C Reilly, Christoph Waltz, and Kate Winslet. After their son hits another child, Waltz and Winslet visit the victim's parents, Foster and Reilly, to discuss what to do next. The two couples are initially cordial to each other, though the veneer of civility is gradually removed. The action takes place entirely within Foster and Reilly's apartment, resulting in a claustrophobic though theatrical chamber piece. It sometimes feels like a prologue to The Exterminating Angel or Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, both of which feature the baser instincts of the bourgeoisie.
Polanski has confined his dramas to domestic spaces before, in Repulsion, Rosemary's Baby, and Death & The Maiden, though Carnage is too blackly comic to achieve the intensity of those earlier films. The dialogue is consistently witty, though the action ultimately becomes unrealistically exaggerated and at the end nothing seems to have happened. Waltz and Foster dominate, and they are both satisfyingly unsympathetic, but Reilly and Winslet's characters are under-developed. Waltz was much more charismatic in Inglourious Basterds.