Roman Polanski's brilliantly barmy black comedy Discuss this article

This comic miniature sees Roman Polanski bring his knack for claustrophobic dramas played out in enclosed spaces (a recurring interest from Knife in the Water to The Ghost, via Repulsion and The Tenant) to French writer Yasmina Reza’s play The God of Carnage, moving from Paris to middle-class Brooklyn.

It’s a captive, caustic exercise in confinement and hysteria as a couple, Nancy (Kate Winslet), a personality-free, high-flying financial type, and Alan (Christoph Waltz), a harried executive, come knocking at the home of Penelope (Jodie Foster), a self-consciously liberal writer, and Michael (John C Reilly), an amiable peddler of ‘flush mechanisms’, to discuss a fight between their kids. Each couple attempts diplomacy, but words become weapons, prejudices rise to the surface and the evening collapses into a storm of anger, vomit, drunkenness and violence. It’s an acting face-off, yet Polanski harnesses any thespian one-upmanship to make it integral to
each character’s need to dominate a deteriorating scenario. Brief, brutal and barmy.

By Dave Calhoun
Time Out Doha,


  • Duration: 80
  • Released: Thu, 29 Mar
  • Classification: G
  • Language: English
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Stars: Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, John C. Reilly, Elvis Polanski, Eliot Berger

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