Just because one knows where a film is going doesn’t take anything away from it.
Five minutes into Carnage, a 2011 film by director Roman Polanski, I kind of knew the dramatic arc. Two couples meet in an affluent New York upper-East or West side apartment wishing to maturely discuss an altercation between their 11-year-old sons but can’t seem to stop the runaway train of their increasingly heated conversation no matter how badly one of the couples wishes to split the scene.
My wife was shouting at the TV screen (it’s a rental): “So leave already!” I said, “If they do the movie’s over.”
Oh, there are a few more walks to the elevator but you know that no one’s going. The “conversation” between these four (a perfectly cast Jodie Fisher and John C. Reilly as the Longstreets, and Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet as the Cowans) spirals down predictably but no less hilariously and believably.
The dialogue and acting are almost perfect (maybe Fisher overdoes it a bit) and as afternoon flows into evening, an overflowing can of worms is opened on many, many fronts. Carnage is a scathing satirical comment on upper-middle-class hypocrisy, family values and marriage.
Which leaves me with one last thought: Where can one find, apart from the video store, (European film section, usually) films made with adults in mind?