In theaters Dec. 16
Two respectable, WELL-HEELED New York couples, whose sons have engaged in a nasty and disfiguring playground fight, meet in the tasteful Brooklyn apartment of the victim's parents to have a "civilized" discussion of the incident. Surely these decent people can work out their problems with no bad feelings. By the end of Carnage, Roman Polanski's mordantly funny and doggedly faithful adaptation of Yasmina Reza's Tony-winning God of Carnage, all pretense of civility lies in tatters. Scotch has been downed, insults hurled, vomit spewed, and humanity's baser instincts exposed. To anyone versed in Albee and Strindberg, Reza's stratagems may elicit déjà vu. Still, there's good, nasty fun to be had watching an enraged Jodie Foster and a boorish John C. Reilly (the victim's parents), a cynical Christoph Waltz and a tightly coiled Kate Winslet (the tonier parents of the victimizing boy) gleefully chewing the scenery, and each other. Polanski, a master of enclosed spaces and inner demons, is right at home. This won't go down as one of his classics, but he choreographs the bourgeois battle royale with old-pro finesse.