It is not difficult to see why Yasmina Reza’s play, The Gods of Carnage, attracted Roman Polanski’s attention. The suffocating environment of its single setting falls firmly within his territory after 50 years of exploring claustrophobia as a dominant theme. Add to the mix, some fundamentally flawed bourgeois characters and a dose of hysteria and paranoia, and this adaptation was potentially another significant addition to Polanski’s oeuvre. So, what went wrong?
Things start promisingly enough. There is an engaging disposition; two couples meet in a Brooklyn suburban apartment looking for an amicable settlement to a playground spat between their sons, which got out of hand when one took a stick to the other’s head. The hosts, an assertive liberal and her deceptively cheerful husband, are the victim’s parents, barely concealing their resentment under a veil of contrived compromise. Their worldly visitors, a cynical corporate lawyer, with a serious mobile phone obsession, and his power-dressing executive wife, are unperturbed at first, but as the confined setting gradually heightens the intensity, their self-assured sense of importance looks increasingly strained.
We are fully on board at this point, but once satire starts to overpower the drama, there is an unintentional release from the carefully controlled tension, with the forced irony being unable to transcend the film’s theatrical origins. Like a filmed version of a live stage production, the actors’ physical presence dissipates, leaving us with an unfortunate anti-climax of infantile behaviour and predictable changes of allegiance.
All of which is a missed opportunity. Polanski’s real time narration works well during the first hour and there are some genuinely sharp lines for a cast on top form until misplaced absurdity undoes their best efforts.
It leaves us with an overwhelming sense that if Polanski had followed his own logic, rather than that of the play, the film would have remained within the limits of credibility that it had originally set. Ultimately, no more than a minor work but there is one memorable scene that takes us completely by surprise, involving projectile vomit and a Kokoschka monograph.buy cheap dapoxetinebuy viagra dapoxetine onlinefluoxetine classificationfluoxetine tablets 20mgfluoxetine 20 mg tabletsfluoxetine 10 mg side effects