Sunday, 22 January 2012


Saw this today at a members' free preview at Harbour Lights in Southampton - thanks guys. It was a real treat. As the opening credits role a group of boys are hanging out in a park. Two of the boys fall out and one of them, who happens to be holding a stick, uses it to swing out at the other boy knocking out two of his teeth and bruising his lip.

The parent's of the 'victim' invite the parents of the perpetrator to their apartment to discuss the incident and plan a way of dealing with it. The entire film takes place within the apartment with the two couples locked in a series of debates. It could have been claustrophobic but Roman Polanski's Direction and the ensemble casts' acting mean it is tight, lively and so believable, that this is not an issue.

Initially both sets of parents are civil and acting as you'd expect them to. As the story unfolds, the guards come down and, aided by some single malt, one by one the individuals reveal their true feelings about their boys fracas and one another. This is done with immense passion and an equal amount of humour. As the arguments are made, the film holds up a mirror to the viewer which invites you to reflect on your own presuppositions, prejudices and views. Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C Reilly give tremendous performances.

The genius of this film is the way in which allies and enemies keep rotating amongst and between the couples. This is done with tremendous deftness and the exchanges are choreographed with great precision and timing. Kate Winslet's character delivers a spectacular bout of projectile vomiting, whilst  Christoph Waltz's character's attachment to his cell phone engenders nothing but frustration in the rest of the cast and the audience!

This is an excellent film. At 75 minutes it's just about right. Do go and see it when it arrives - well worth the effort. I'll give it 8/10.

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