V' 17


Der Gott des Gemetzels

Roman Polanski
F/D/PL/E, 2011
79min, OmdU

© Viennale © Viennale © Viennale


Roman Polanski
F/D/PL/E, 2011
, 79min, OmdU

Kate Winslet
Nancy Cowan
Christoph Waltz
Alan Cowan
Jodie Foster
Penelope Longstreet
John C. Reilly
Michael Longstreet
Yasmina Reza
Roman Polanski
Pawel Edelman
Hervé de Luze
Alexandre Desplat
Dean Tavoularis
Milena Canonero

SBS Productions
Constantin Film
SPI Film Studio
Versátil Cinema
Zanagar Films
France 2 Cinéma
Canal +
France Télévisions
Polski Instytut Sztuki Filmowej
Wild Bunch
World Sales: 
Distribution in Austria: 
Constantin Film
35 mm

This comic miniature sees Roman Polanski bring his knack for claustrophobic dramas played out in enclosed spaces to French writer Yasmina Reza’s play “The God of Carnage”.
It’s a captive, caustic exercise in confinement and hysteria as a couple, Nancy, a personality-free, high-flying financial type, and Alan, a harried executive, come knocking at the home of Penelope, a self-consciously liberal writer, and Michael, an amiable peddler of “flush mechanisms”, to discuss a fight between their kids. Each couple attempts diplomacy, but words become weapons, prejudices rise to the surface and the evening collapses into a storm of anger, vomit, drunkenness and violence.
It’s an acting face-off, yet Polanski harnesses any thespian one-upmanship to make it integral to each character’s need to dominate a deteriorating scenario. Each of our four victims – and Reza and Polanski are unforgiving – enacts a primal power dance around the apartment. The film threatens to run away with itself: the third act feels accelerated and mannered compared to more sly gear changes earlier on.
Yet Christoph Waltz steals the show with a crowd-pleasing embrace of his character’s weasel wit and amoral attitudes. He has one of the best lines, too, when he half-smiles at Foster, who is forever beating a progressive drum, and quips: “I saw your friend Jane Fonda on TV the other day.” Brief, brutal and barmy. (Dave Calhoun)

Gala screening in the presence of Christoph Waltz.

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