When their sons get into a fight in school, the Longstreets and the Cowans gather in a Manhattan apartment to discuss the incident… but it soon gets out of hand. Roman Polanski shows once again (as he did with Death and the Maiden (1994)) that plays can be perfect fodder for movies; this is set in one room and the claustrophobia soon gets to us just as it does to these four adults who seem unable to rise above the level of their children. This irony is reinforced by the individuals constantly shifting allegiances as they argue, depending on what nerve they’re hitting. Hysterical at times… but extremely entertaining, and the cast is spellbinding.

2011-France-Germany-Poland-Spain. 80 min. Color. Widescreen. Produced by Saïd Ben Saïd. Directed by Roman Polanski. Screenplay: Roman Polanski, Yasmina Reza. Play: Yasmina Reza (“God of Carnage”). Cast: Jodie Foster (Penelope Longstreet), Kate Winslet (Nancy Cowan), John C. Reilly (Michael Longstreet), Christoph Waltz (Alan Cowan).

Trivia: Matt Dillon was allegedly considered for a role. Polanski’s son Elvis appears in the opening scene.

Last word: “I don’t think the movie is theatrical. Because what would that be? On the contrary, I think it is highly cinematic. As cinematic as it gets. Just because it’s a confined space doesn’t mean it’s not cinematic. Just because the camera movements are not from thirty-foot cranes swooping over Death Valley and behind the racing stagecoach doesn’t mean it’s not cinematic. Everything affords a little more attention to detail. But, I wonder – and it would be an interesting discussion to entertain for some time – I wonder whether that’s not actually more cinematic than technological efforts to prove the point.” (Waltz, Moviefone)


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