Carnage: Swallowing The Past – The DVDfever Review – Simon Amstell – BBC iPlayer Exclusive

Carnage: Swallowing The Past Carnage: Swallowing The Past is set in 2067, a time when everyone in the world when everyone is vegan.

Comedian Simon Amstell, who made a success on his brief presenting of Never Mind The Buzzcocks before jacking it in after two years to create the superb downbeat sitcom Grandma’s House, but now made a mis-step with this spoof documentary about veganism, questioning why would anyone eat an animal.

Starting 50 years into the future, when it’s a sin to eat any form of meat or even to drink milk or consume cheese, we see a support group still struggling to come to terms with their now-shameful lifestyle.

Then going back in time to the 1944 formation of the Vegan Society, the ’80s with adverts showing Captain Birdseye, Ronald McDonald and the Burger King “who was dressed as a king to deflect attention from the genocide”, the 1990s BSE crisis where then-MP John Selwyn Gummer fed his four-year-old daughter a beef burger to show they were safe, all “masterfully diverting the public’s attention from this” (cue footage of the reality of intensive farming).

Yes, I eat meat and I enjoy it. I also enjoy humourous spoof documentaries, but with Amstell’s attempt at deadpan delivery having worked in this past, here – with this 2067 voiceover – it feels like it misses the mark far too often. With a clip of Macca from the Beatles, we’re told, “Paul McCartney launched Meat-free Monday, which today sounds almost as offensive as Ethnically-cleansing-free Tuesday”; and summing the meat-eating process up to our present day, it then pretends to mock up a BBC ‘Back In Time’ programme as virtual reality takes them back 50 years to examine the effect of being in a KFC.


Mixing clips from original programmes and adverts, from over the years, with newly-recorded segments dressed up as archive footage, this one-off mixes elements of Brass Eye into this. However, its best comparison is Armando Iannucci’s Time Trumpet in 2006, such as when they go back to 1976, making out that elements of a gameshow were actually a factual reality and a requirement for progression in life, as it shows men on tricycles and gets across that this was something we had to do back then. It’s difficult to describe without retaining the humour, but then… it’s not hugely funny. Time Trumpet was far better.

Carnage: Swallowing The Past makes a stab at such genius, but it’s a long 68 minutes and even manages to drag the propaganda of “man-made global warming” into the proceedings.

Also, oddly, there’s no trailer available online, so I’ll add in Mark Kermode’s video below which contains a clip. He loved it, but then he admitted on Sunday Brunch that he never watches TV (as he hasn’t the time), so won’t have seen Iannucci’s comedy.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s Sunday and I’m off to stuff my face with chicken kievs. They’re yummy!

Carnage: Swallowing The Past is available today from 9pm on BBC iPlayer, and click on the top image for the full-size version.


Kermode Uncut: Carnage


Running time: 68 minutes
Studio: BBC
Year: 2017
Format: 2.35:1
Released: March 19th 2016
Rating: 2/10

Director: Simon Amstell
Producer: Daniel O’Connor
Writer: Simon Amstell
Music: Jeremy Warmsley

Cast:
Jeff: Martin Freeman
Dorothy: Eileen Atkins
Maude Polikoff: Lindsay Duncan
Davina: Gemma Jones
Troye King Jones: John Macmillan
Joseph: Alex Lawther
Dr Yasmine Vondenburg: Linda Bassett
Fred: Earth-G
Krishna: Martin Gordon
Leon: Roy Sampson
Freddy The Celebrity Chef: Mawaan Rizwan
Edith Paper/Amelie: Samantha Spiro
Peter Smithball: Michael Fenton Stevens
Herself: Kirsty Wark
Herself: Lorraine Kelly
Herself: Vanessa Feltz
Herself: Joanna Lumley
Herself: Bip Ling
Himself: JME
Himself: Christian Frasier
Himself: Clive Myrie

Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2019.
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  • Compassion Forward

    Hi, this review was interesting, I’ve read quite a few on this film so far. I’m just wondering what you mean by the propaganda of ‘man-made global warming’? Everything up to 2017 (on the timeline) is backed up by facts.

  • The global warming facts also state that temperatures didn’t rise for around 10-15 years. It seems politicians pick out the factsthey want to show, and then show stock footage of a collapsing ice shelf as if that’s not part of the normal scheme of things. Same with selective pictures of a polar bear on a piece of ice and only water all around him… when if they’d pulled out and shown the whole picture, there’s a ton of other ice all around.

    Add to this, politicians telling us that mankind is the cause by doing things like flying in planes, whilst tens of thousands of them do it regularly, including all getting together for an annual 2-week jolly as a ‘conference’, where they agree on little else other than when and where to have the next jolly.

    Plus, the electorate know they lie about so many other things, yet don’t question when they tell them about this.

    And now look at the scrapping of the car tax subsidy for hybrid cars. Such as thing is still “fair” for consumers and “good for the environment” when they’re now to be getting hammered like every other driver.

    Don’t believe what they tell you without checking it out.

  • Compassion Forward

    Trust me, I don’t believe politicians. But I believe every scientist around the globe, and all the scientific studies that I’ve read for my Maths, Physics and Chemistry studies, as well as what I’ve seen and understood from my own knowledge. I really think you should check out Cowspiracy on YouTube and actually really research the effects of global warming as they ARE very real, no matter what politicians say, this can’t be denied when you gather all the facts and information. Yes of course a collapsing ice shelf is normal, the problem is the rate at which they are doing so, and the rate at which the sea levels have been rising over the past 50 years or so. Politicians don’t usually do what’s best for the environment, but that doesn’t mean that just because they’re admitting climate change is real, that they’re lying about that too, because that’s a universally agreed fact, just like the Earth is round.

  • The global warming facts also state that temperatures didn’t rise for around 10-15 years. It seems politicians pick out the facts they want to show, and then show stock footage of a collapsing ice shelf as if that’s not part of the normal scheme of things. Same with selective pictures of a polar bear on a piece of ice and only water all around him… when if they’d pulled out and shown the whole picture, there’s a ton of other ice all around.

    Also, those who believe in ‘man-made global warming’ say
    many different things:

    1. It’s “global warming”
    2. Oh, they don’t believe that, let’s say it’s “climate change”
    3. 95%…
    4. 97%…
    5. 95/97% of scientists think mankind causes climate
    change

    6. The majority of scientists are 95/97% convinced mankind causes climate change.

    They don’t even know what they’re arguing for!

    Add to this, politicians telling us that mankind is the cause by doing things like flying in planes, whilst tens of thousands of them do it regularly, including all getting together for an annual 2-week jolly as a ‘conference’, where they agree on little else other than when and where to have the next jolly.

    Plus, the electorate know they lie about so many other things, yet don’t question when they tell them about this.

    And now look at the scrapping of the car tax subsidy for hybrid cars. Such as thing is still “fair” for consumers and “good for the environment” when they’re now to be getting hammered like every other driver.

    Don’t believe what they tell you without checking it out.

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