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Carnage Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/24-bit), French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 80 Mins.
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 20, 2012
  • List Price: $35.99

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Purchase Carnage on Blu-ray at CD Universe

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Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

It’s a difficult thing to bring a story so well crafted for the stage to the big screen. Even a veteran great like Roman Polanski can be forgiven if he doesn’t quite get it right and with Carnage, he doesn’t. Based on the play God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, Polanski’s film is set in a single New York City apartment and focused on two married couples brought together by a fight involving their young, adolescent sons.

Penelope and Michael Longstreet (Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly), parents of Ethan, have invited the parents of Zachary, Nancy and Alan Cowan (Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz), for a civilized discussion about the serious matter involving their children. It seems Ethan had hit Zachary in the face with a stick, knocking out two of his teeth – a serious matter indeed. The film begins with a distant shot of this “rumble,” but it isn’t until we get into the crux of the parents’ discussion that we realize what we’ve witnessed.

On the surface, the two couples are all polite and apologetic, but the obvious air of insincerity abounds, particularly with the cellphone obsessed Alan, a lawyer for a pharmaceutical company that is fighting a bad report about harmful side effects over one of their drugs. We’ve already witnessed some petty bickering over the wording of a letter describing the incident as well; “armed with a stick” versus “carrying a stick.” It doesn’t take long for the whole afternoon to devolve into one chaotic mess of quibbling, crying and even side-switching in a pseudo-spousal swap as each parents’ true character comes out – helped along by a good bottle of single malt scotch.

It’s not that the acting isn’t good in Carnage – it certainly is. Christoph Waltz in particular is a standout here, despite his character’s telephone fetish and even John C. Reilly has a stellar and unexpected character twist, but Carnage just never rises to the level of true cinematic appeal. Despite Polanski’s best efforts here, the device to keep these four self-centered metropolitan parents together in an apartment engaged in an open-ended, openly hostile conversation begins to wear thin rather quickly. Just as quickly as the film opens and jumps into its story, however, it closes, with only a hint of a resolution, which is to say none.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Like most Sony new releases, Carnage looks superb on this high definition transfer to Blu-ray. The film, originally captured on Super 35mm with Arriflex cameras, has only the slightest layer of grain apparent, blues are vivid, blacks are inky and the contrast is wide. Flesh tones are spot on while shadow details are nicely balanced. There’s a good bit of dimensionality in the overall structure of the imagery and while lighting and tonality doesn’t change much, Carnage still provides a good bit of pop, be it the yellow of the tulips on the coffee table or Kate Winslet’s blue scarf.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

Audio is a simple DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack that remains front-heavy with very little in the way of atmospherics. The sound designers do well, however, to capture the occasional sounds one might hear wafting in from a New York City apartment, such as a dog barking off to the side or the distant sound of an “el” on the tracks.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

Much of the extras here (all in 1080p, by the way) are focused on cast interviews, which are good to see, but nothing offers up much deep insight into the film itself.

The supplements:

  • Actor’s Notes (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:10:38) – A brief “making of” type featurette offers interviews with the cast.
  • An Evening with John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:38:03) – A Q&A session with John C. Reilly and Cristoph Waltz.
  • On the Red Carpet (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:03:30) – Walk the red carpet with Carnage.
  • Theatrical Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

A well intentioned, but flawed film that can’t shake its stage roots to become an engaging cinematic venture, Carnage has the feel of an intellectual heavyweight, but never touches the viewer on a deep level.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B006QVRUS2[/amazon-product]

Purchase Carnage on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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