In his very first scene Buscemi is excellent as he plays Carl as coming on very strong against Jerry trying to be the tough criminal he is suppose to be as he inquire what the logic is behind Jerry's plan exactly. Buscemi in this scene shows Carl as a man very trying to put up the front that he is quite hardened and much more of a man than he actually is in his treatment of Jerry. Buscemi though nicely brings that underlying weakness to Carl from the first scene as you never feel a strong confidence here, nor any of the suggested intelligence that was in his earlier performance. One of my favorite moments in his first scene is how he ends the scene as Carl tries to keep on pushing Jerry but then suddenly stops and just suggest taking a look at the car. Buscemi transition is perfect in showing just how easily Carl loses his tough guy act.
After that point we get a series of scenes between Carl and his other criminal associate Gaear Grimsrud (Peter Stormare). Buscemi and Stormare's chemistry is one of the greatest aspects of the film with Stormare playing it ridiculously dead pan and Buscemi playing up Carl as more talkative and animated sort of guy. They are hilarious together with Buscemi playing up Carl trying basically to carry on as a man would on a business trip or something with Grimsrud who clearly is not the same type of man. Every bit of dialogue is handled perfectly by Buscemi because he handles it so casually even though the men are on track to commit crime. They're especially hilarious together though in the back and forth between the two. Buscemi is great in showing Carl trying to make some sort of conversation but always being taken aback by Grimsrud's stoic demeanor.
One of the best scenes in the film takes place after the kidnapping has taken place and the two men find themselves in an awkward situation when they are pulled over for a foolish mistake on Carl's part. Buscemi is extremely entertaining in the scene as it begins particularly in his threat to their victim where he tells her to be quiet or they'll have to shoot her. The reason that particularly moment is so funny is all in Buscemi's delivery. He does not make it like a psychotic or even a hardened crook even, but rather Buscemi has Carl say it like he's just some normal guy handling a situation he obviously does not have much sense for. This only continues for the men though as Carl bungles his attempt to speak to the police officer. Buscemi makes Carl's incompetence completely believable, but also so very amusing because of just how he handles every moment of it with his performance.
As he showed in Reservoir Dogs, Buscemi is great in bringing a very visceral power in his reactions to intense situation. Well he apps that up to another level as Carl who must undergo many intense situations throughout his time in dealing with Jerry's foolish plan. Buscemi is absolutely on fire in every scene because he plays every scene with such expert precision which is always works as such an interesting portrayal of a man who is in way over his head but tries to act like he's not. Another terrific scene Buscemi comes in with the exchange of money which becomes problematic when Jerry's father-in-law handles it. Buscemi's actually makes it pretty easy to sympathize Carl a bit in the moment as his exasperation, and complete bewilderment of the moment is just so brilliantly played by him. Of course things only get worse for Carl as things proceed.
Carl of course takes a gunshot to the face, although he does manage to survive, his face obviously won't quite be the scene. Although the makeup in the scene is more than solid Buscemi's whole physical reaction in the moment really sells the moment in such a brutal way. The way he changes his speech from the wound, and every one of his cries of pain are handled so well that it becomes pretty hard to watch his performance. This is the case throughout the film for Buscemi and it is treat to watch him in any scene he is in because it is always true to his honest depiction of such a foolish criminal. Buscemi can even make a gem out of a scene where Carl argues about the cost of a parking ticket because every reaction every delivery on Buscemi's part just rather flawless. Buscemi gives a great performance in a role that in the wrong hands could have fallen pretty flat as the humor of the moment is often in the delivery, or maybe they might have tried to hard on the humor and undercut the criminal part. Buscemi has such a tight grasp on the character and the material that he makes Carl one of the best parts of this film.