‘All Hail to the God of Carnage’

December 15, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Look! It's the stylish French poster which focuses on the bilious mood temperatures within Polanski's angry little movie!

With director Roman Polanski’s latest film, Carnage, slated to open in theatres Dec. 30th (yes, he’s still trapped in France making movies set in other countries), the TIFF Bell Lightbox have created a thematic lead-in to Polanski’s tight adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s vicious black comedy of two couples losing their civil artifice as the issue of a maimed child refuses to leave the mind of the affected mother.

People losing sanity seems to be a favourite theme of the director (and mine), and for some, a good day is one where conflicts were minimal, pet annoyances were wholly avoided, and the day consisted of a few genuinely rewarding moments.

No such luck happens to the couples in Carnage, but perhaps that’s the point: in real life issues never disappear, resolutions are often strained / tolerated compromises, and old conflicts can easily be drummed back into full force if we just keep poking the smiley person with the same needle again and again until there’s a steamy release.

You could argue that it’s not in our nature to be nice; we’re genetically trained to be annoyed, but unlike our wilder, animal cousins, we don’t let the claws pop out and take a warning swipe when someone’s pressing an issue beyond one’s tolerance. The gem of Reza’s play is how our use of manufactured artifice is applicable at dinners with idiotic family members, over a beer with pretentious friends, family gatherings with grating children whose parents don’t believe in the word or concept of ‘No,’ maintaining professional decorum when a client is allowed to be profane, and wanting to drag a texting moron with you as you exit a subway because said moron never learned an exit portal on a train, subway, or streetcar is not a personal communications booth.

People are able to suppress a great deal of anger because the volume of social and petty annoyances are so rampant and profound, but once in a while an incident can trigger a flood – and that’s what occurs when the couple of a ‘maniac child’ is invited for cobbler because the mom & dad of the gashed child refuse to let the offending party leave.

It’s the need to ensure things end on a polite and civil note that sets things in motion, and the various conflicts that spew forth within Carnage are both witty and grotesque. For those with a distate for scenes of up-chucking, there’s a doozy in Carnage, but it is necessary (much as I hate to admit), and just.

Look... it's the generic English language poster that evokes a banal comedy on DVD. Nicely... done... oh savvy marketing department....

I’ve uploaded the Carnage [M] review and will follow-up with reviews of other recent adaptations of Reza’s plays, including her recent directorial debut, Chicas. I’ll also have a film review of Repulsion, since it’ll be playing at the TBL next Wednesday.

I’ve only seen an ugly TV print way back when, and while the film is out on Blu-ray via Criterion, it is a classic psychological horror film featuring a rare score by jazz great Chico Hamilton. Totally worth seeing on the big screen in the midst of smiley happy Christmas people wearing far too much red & green clothing and accessories.

Those curious about the other Polanski flicks ought to check out the TBL’s site, which offers 7 films between Sat. Dec. 17 thru Sunday Dec. 25.

My only qualm: I wish they’d screen Rosemary’s Baby on a Sunday. This marks the second time I’ve missed a chance to catch the shocker on the big screen, goosed with Christopher Komeda’s remarkable score. For some reason the Interstellar Scheduling Gods don’t want me to see the film, nor any Mario Bava films at the TBL.

What’d I do?



Mark R. Hasan, Editor
KQEK.com ( Main Site / Mobile Site )

Tags: , ,


Leave a Reply