August 19, 2012


Over the course of an afternoon, Nazi power couple Hans Landa and Hanna Schmitz peel back another couple’s Brooklyn liberalism, which includes any theatre audience’s notion that art is civilising (a notion that Hanna/Winslet literally vomits on). Beneath the facade of educated middle-class civilisation all is … carnage and chaos? This kind of nihilism runs as Haneke-lite, or maybe just a petty provocation of its own audience, but Roman Polanski – who directs Yasmina Reza’s adaptation of her own play, God of Carnage – is ever the master of cinematic confinement, keeping his four New Yorkers under house arrest on a Paris set and suggesting that this afternoon in Hell may never end. Of course, the material is as right-wing as anything: your well-meaning Brooklyn liberals (Jodie Foster and John C Reilly) are revealed as hypocrites and only the repellent corporate lawyer (Hans/Waltz) is consistent.