Conflicts are unavoidable between kids, and parents often feel forced to intervene. They're the ones left to pick up the pieces and come up with a solution. Or not. And especially not in Roman Polanski's stage-to-film black comedy adaptation, Carnage.
The opening scene shows a group of children playing in a park. A minor scuffle results in one kid striking another with a tree branch. Then comes the parental intervention inside a middle-class New York apartment, where the rest of the film is set. There are two pairs of parents: Penelope (Jodie Foster) and Michael Longstreet (John C. Reilly), and Nancy (Kate Winslet) and Alan Cowan (Christopher Waltz).
At first, they are well-mannered, but soon their polite chat turns into all-out verbal warfare, where no topic is off limits. (The rapid-fire banter may be too difficult to follow for those who rely on subtitles.)
Three times, the visiting Cowans are out the door, but they return for believable reasons. Thus the 'carnage' of the title continues.
The closing scene goes back to the opening. This time, the two kids are playing happily together. They've patched things up without the intervention of their parents.
Boys will be boys. Grown-ups need to grow up.
Contains strong language