Roman Polanski’s “Carnage” splits Venice critics – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell Roman Polanski’s “Carnage,” an adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play, held its world premiere as part of the ongoing Venice Film Festival. What did the critics think?

Lee Marshall, writing for The Evening Standard, calls Polanski’s film “a tasty cinematic workout,” claiming that the film “also celebrates an old-fashioned, underrated cinematic pleasure: the chance to see an ensemble cast of fine actors sparring with each other, and at the top of their game.”

Meanwhile, the UK Guardian calls the film “giddily enjoyable” while adding that the film becomes “slightly less so once the characters start to analyse their descent into barbarism.”

And Variety chimed in with, “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.”

Two prominent online writers were less than impressed, though.

Guy Lodge of InContention gave the film a C+, tweeting, “Loudly enjoyable, but straight-ahead film treatment magnifies play’s slight pettiness. Poised, cunning Waltz far best in show.”

The Playlist agrees and disagrees. In a tweet, the site also gives “Carnage” a C+, saying, “A stagey trifle, but suggests Polanski should do comedy more often.” But they add, “Jodie Foster the best by a mile.”

One vote for Christoph, one vote for Jodie. But both say stagey … which makes sense as it is based on a play that takes place in one New York City apartment.

Now “Carnage” prepares for the New York Film Festival, which it will open on Sept. 30 … unless it finds its way to Telluride over the weekend.

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