Notwithstanding the shadow cast in recent times by his past private misdeeds, Roman Polanski remains at the top of his game as a filmmaker. Here his razor-sharp humour marks a blisteringly astute adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s multi-award-winning play God of Carnage. Two sets of middle-class parents arguing in an apartment over a violent incident involving both their school-age sons doesn’t sound like much, yet as married execs Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz struggle to conceal their scorn for touchy-feely right-on duo Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly, what emerges is an insightful and uproariously funny study of the petty snobbery and minutiae of prejudice lurking beneath the rituals of bourgeois civility.
The 78-year-old director keeps the gags and barbs coming at quite a lick, making brilliantly cinematic use of the seemingly confined interiors in a manner befitting the maestro of earlier classics such as Repulsion and Rosemary’s Baby. Carnage is tremendous stuff and, trust us, you’ll want to double-check your smartphone is turned off . . . (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)