Roman Polanski

Carnage, Venice Film Festival

Roman Polanski likes confined spaces. Knife in the Water, Cul-de-Sac, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby all had a determinedly claustrophobic feel. So does Carnage (a world premiere in Venice.) The difference here is that this is a comedy, albeit a barbed and vicious one. Adapted from Yasmina Reza's play, it is a chamber piece, lasting barely 80 minutes. Thanks to the coruscating dialogue and four tremendous central performances, the film transcends its stage origins. Not since Richard Burton and Liz Taylor tore strips off each other in the movie version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? has there been a film that has probed so pitilessly into the lives of middle-class couples.

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