Posted Oct 28 2015

Force Majeure - This Movie Avalanches

Dir: Ruben Ostlund
Starring Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsil, Ciara Wettergen, Vincent Wettergen

A family on a skiing holiday almost get caught in an avalanche. As the vast snow approaches they try to run for cover – but the overworked father Tomas runs harder and further, leaving his family behind. Then the snow cloud passes – but the clouds surrounding the family grow darker and more ominous as their lives begin to spiral out of control.

Ostlund’s film moves between a form of almost comedy (of a social and black hue) to personal tragedy to uneasy realism to the strangely surreal., all the while analysing, from these many tonal perspectives, the imminent disintegration of a family.  All in a locked downed Ikea-tastic world of isolated ski resorts, where the filmmaker appears as interested in the mechanics of said resort as he is in those of the families that (temporarily) inhabit them.

It’s an interesting movie that shifts moods quite often and quite dramatically – father Tomas’ eventual breakdown literally goes from the grotesquely comic to very quietly moving tragedy with the lightest of touches.

But the rest of the movie is not always as successful, as it moves from involving, telling moments to ill-defined longueurs that create more distance that you suspect the filmmaker is hoping for.


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