A privileged existence leads to guilt, and guilt leads to savage behavior.
That is the obvious message in Roman Polanski's Carnage (an adaptation of Yasmina Reza's hit Broadway play God of Carnage), in which two sets of upscale New York parents get together to discuss a brawl between their sons on the schoolyard. Over the course of the next 80 minutes, what should have been a cordial conversation between concerned parents descends into outright anarchy. Ugliness and pettiness is laid bare, and there is no hope for humanity. And, oh yeah, it's hilarious from beginning to end.
Having made 19 feature films over the course of 39 years, several of them masterpieces, Roman Polanski can be excused for having a few clunkers in his oeuvre. The Ghost Writer reminded us just how good his brand of bleakly absurd existential thrillers are. And now, with Carnage, his adaptation of Yasmina Reza's stage play God of Carnage, about to open the New York Film Festival, Polanski is rightfully being celebrated at MoMA with a comprehensive retrospective, including some films he only starred in, like Andrzej Wajda's Revenge.