Carnage

Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Kerry Lengel
    Dec 29, 2011
    60
    If anything, Carnage does too little to adapt to the new medium, and the result is a film that makes its audience feel as trapped as its characters.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 15, 2011
    60
    It's a shame neither actress can truly "go for the jugular," as Alan says at one point. This is a work that would allow for it.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Dec 13, 2011
    60
    Watch the director's 1976 "The Tenant," and you'll know he can do more with less.
  4. Reviewed by: Lisa Schwarzbaum
    Dec 15, 2011
    58
    In such an audience stroker, where casting is everything (on Broadway, James Gandolfini brought exciting menace to the role of Mr. Longstreet), Winslet and Waltz jell while Foster and Reilly flounder, unable to make sense of what kind of people they're supposed to be.
  5. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    The film isn't half as deep as intended, but parts of it are very funny - someone actually barfs onto a stack of art books - and the parts that aren't may as well be.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jan 12, 2012
    50
    The entire point of Carnage is to poke fun at the fragile civility of the upper-middle class - they're all animals inside! - but how much more fun would this material have been if the story hadn't been about polite white people?
  7. Reviewed by: Rick Groen
    Dec 23, 2011
    50
    Although the subject, school bullying, is as fresh as today's headlines, the treatment isn't. Despite the efforts of an impressive cast, the film starts out stale and then just gets tedious.
  8. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Dec 16, 2011
    50
    Stiff, talky, and airless, a textbook example of that not-always-true cliché about the unfilmability of theater.
  9. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 16, 2011
    50
    The film version of Carnage hasn't just lost God from its title, it's lost the laughs from the play that brought it life.
  10. Reviewed by: Karina Longworth
    Dec 13, 2011
    50
    In the final stage of the film's programmatic chaos, Alan announces that he believes in the god of carnage and cops to the pleasure he gets from watching people deviate from social convention and tear one another apart. You'd have to agree with him in order to embrace this film - there's nothing else to see here.
  11. Reviewed by: Anthony Lane
    Dec 12, 2011
    50
    The performances are lusty and concerted, but they remain just that - performances, of the sort that may make you feel you should stagger to your feet at the end and applaud. If so, resist.
  12. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Sep 30, 2011
    50
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 15, 2011
    40
    I was put off by the acting, or more properly by the spectacle of good actors dutifully following leaden direction, and equally by the writing, which is as thin as the veneer of civilization it purports to peel back.
  14. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Dec 15, 2011
    40
    As a portrait of anxious, status-conscious Brooklyn parents living in a chiaroscuro of self-righteousness and guilt, Carnage misses its mark badly.
  15. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Dec 15, 2011
    40
    At 78, Polanski has earned the right to pursue his career-long demons of confinement and anarchy even in a minor film like this. But Carnage is not the word for what he's perpetrated here. Minor irritation is more like it.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 30
  2. Negative: 2 out of 30
  1. Apr 5, 2012
    4
    Carnage suffers from a bad script that is simply unfunny. The actors are quite good and know how to play there role, but they cannot save thisCarnage suffers from a bad script that is simply unfunny. The actors are quite good and know how to play there role, but they cannot save this 71 minute long film from feeling like a total drag. This is also the first polanski film that I have not enjoyed. Full Review »
  2. Mar 30, 2012
    8
    I gotta say , at the start I thought the movie will be supper boring . The first 15 min was boring but finally it turned out to be reallyI gotta say , at the start I thought the movie will be supper boring . The first 15 min was boring but finally it turned out to be really funny. Haven't seen this kinda comedy film in ages ! One Apartment , 2 couples fighting over something so silly and all with the phone and hamster amazing . Good actors and their acting and Kate was clearly the best among them. Nice directing by Roman and Really good screenplay too . Over all a different kinda fun movie ! Full Review »
  3. Apr 4, 2012
    4
    Who's Afraid of the God of Carnage? would be an apt title for this film since it is reminiscent of the Virginia Woolf play/film. Any filmWho's Afraid of the God of Carnage? would be an apt title for this film since it is reminiscent of the Virginia Woolf play/film. Any film that takes place almost entirely in one room has to be be based on a play, and Carnage is no exception. The four characters occasionally tread into the hallway and there's a trip to the bathroom, and that's it. The stage lends itself well to prolonged dialogues and dramatic monologues, but film demands some action. The opening credits show the incident between the boys in the park; otherwise, the most action you'll see here is when Kate Winslet's character throws up all over uptight Jodie Foster's art books. Both actresses got nominated for a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, but there is not one line in this film that is even remotely humorous. The ancient Greek definition of comedy is any play that has a happy ending--Carnage still does not qualify. It has no ending at all. It seems to stop in the middle. We'll need a sequel to find out if the two boys ever reconciled like grown-ups or even to find out if the two marriages survived that disastrous encounter. At least Polanski remembered to tie up the loose end about the hamster--that was an enormous relief. In between the opening credits and the hamster, two civilized couples get together to talk about the fact that the son of Nancy and Alan Cowen (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz) bashed in the teeth of the son of Penelope and Michael Longstreet (John Reilly and Jodie Foster). The injuries are serious but will heal and perhaps will need some cosmetic surgery, but the boy will not be marked for life. The parents have the best of intentions--to reconcile with each other and set an example so that the boys will reconcile. The visiting parents of the offending boy are about to leave, twice, and the second time they make it to the elevator. By the end of the movie, you wish they had left, and there was no reason for them to be enticed back for a cup of coffee. It was an uncomfortable, unpleasant visit, and everyone wanted it to end, including the viewers. Instead it dragged on for eighty minutes, short for most films but interminable in this film. The conversation starts out being politically correct but quickly deteriorates as both couples lose it, lash out at the other couple, and then spouses lash out at each other, and all the chinks in the armor of the holy institution of marriage get blown away so that there is no armor left, just the carnage. The play was called â Full Review »