'Carnage' Leaves the Audience in Its Wake
Jodie Foster is back in Carnage, the film version of the award-winning Broadway smash hit God of Carnage. Co-starring Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz, this character drama plays out basically in one room. It's a story of two sets of parents who come together because of their sons' squabbles, and it was directed by legendary Roman Polanski whose last film Ghost Writer was in my opinion the best film of 2010.
However, Carnage is pretty much a disaster. I did not see the original play but what unwinds onscreen for a brief 79 minutes is pretty dreary. Everything seems off and the acting for the most part is lackluster. Winslet survives the best but even she seems miscast as a suburban wife. Reilly is so-so and Walz is just annoying. Granted, his character is supposed to be annoying, but he succeeds at it while eating and on his constant cell phone calls. In this case it is difficult to separate the actor from the role.
But the major casting mistake is Foster. I always loved her, from childhood roles in Taxi Driver and as a young teen in the cult film Foxes. As an adult, Foster was good in both her Oscar winning films The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs. However, as Foster has aged something has happened to her. She has become constricted, for lack of a better word, and she is so tight in Carnage that she is embarrassing to watch; you feel no depth underneath her lines. Plus, she looks awful. Marcia Gay Harden, who originated the role, is an attractive middle-aged woman. Would it have killed Foster to look good in this film with a decent hair style and maybe just a smidge of makeup? I almost feel disloyal panning Foster, but there is no way to sugarcoat her dismal performance.
With that said, I will chose to remember Foster in some of her early great performances and hopefully she will still have some decent roles yet to come.