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Venice Film Festival: Early thumbs up for Polanski's 'Carnage'

September 1, 2011 | 11:27 am

John reilly kate winslet and cristoph waltz at venice film festival

Roman Polanski's "Carnage" had its world premiere Thursday at the Venice Film Festival, and early reviews -- rather glowing -- are trickling in. The movie, adapted from the Tony-winning play "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza, is a dark comedy about two parental couples who meet after one of their sons strikes another on the playground. It will open in the U.S. in December, distributed by Sony Pictures Classics. (It's also the opening selection of this year's New York Film Festival.)  

Writing in Variety, Justin Chang says: "The gloves come off early and the social graces disintegrate on cue in 'Carnage,' which spends 79 minutes observing, and encouraging, the steady erosion of niceties between two married couples. But the real battle in Roman Polanski's brisk, fitfully amusing adaptation of Yasmina Reza's popular play is a more formal clash between stage minimalism and screen naturalism, as this acid-drenched four-hander never shakes off a mannered, hermetic feel that consistently betrays its theatrical origins."

In the Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy writes: "Roman Polanski's mastery of films within small spaces is evident in his adaptation of the Yasmina Reza play."

The film stars Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet.

Lee Marshall, opining in the London Evening Standard, says Foster "gives a wicked, Oscar-worthy comic performance" as the neurotically thin, bleeding-heart liberal mother of the victim.

David Gritten, writing in the Telegraph, says Waltz, "as the rudest man in the room, gets the best lines. It’s well-acted and giddily enjoyable, if slightly less so once the characters start to analyse their descent into barbarism."


-- Julie Makinen

Photo: John C. Reilly, left, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz at the Venice Film Festival. Credit: Claudio Onorati / European Pressphoto Agency