May 28, 2017

Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” opens New York Film Fest, earns solid remarks – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” opened the 2011 New York Film Festival Friday night, giving North American critics and audiences their first look at auteur’s anticipated adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play.

Co-stars John C. Reilly and Jodie Foster introduced the film and paid tribute to their director (Christoph Waltz injured himself training for Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and could not attend; Kate Winslet, also, was a no-show.)

And while the L.A. Times says the opening-night crowd laughed along with Reza’s claustrophobic insanity, Twitter lit up this afternoon with critics calling attention to the film’s various faults. Strange, as critics largely seemed to love it.

“Wry to its succulently written bone,” says Slant Magazine’s Ed Gonzalez.

“Offsets its familiar thematic arguments with deliciously nasty wit and fractured, tension-wracked visual framing,” states Nick Schager.

Xan Brookes of The Guardian adds, “The film barely puts a foot wrong. The acting comes at full throttle while the pacing cranks up the tension in agonising, incremental degrees.”

While Lou Lemenick of the New York Post sums up, “It’s often a hoot, but the pressure cooker that is ‘Carnage’ never boils over and scalds like ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ which remains the gold standard for a four-person dramatic movie.”

These positive reactions fly in the face of some Oscar bloggers, who tossed around terms like “failure” and “mess.” So choose who to trust when it comes to Polanski’s film as you wait for it to reach theaters on Dec. 16.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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