Der Gott des Gemetzels
, 79min, OmdU
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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