Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Force Majeure Asks All The Right Questions

You'd be hard pressed to find a film that more directly touches on the dynamics of relationship than Force Majeure.
A new Swedish flick from director Ruben Östlund, Force Majeure tells the story of a family staying at a ski resort in the French Alps. When out to lunch one day, they are confronted with the real life horrors of being buried under an avalanche only to come out the other side unscathed... well physically unscathed. The family dynamic is completely turned upside down after the event, and new questions about commitment and human nature fester like open wounds.
Johannes Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli are mesmerizing to watch. And Kristofer Hivju brings an element of unexpected comedy and grounded humanity to the piece. When you consider the emotional torment these characters have to climb through, it becomes an impressive feat... like everyone is scaling a mountain though they cannot see their own hands through the mist.
I only use so many metaphors in this review because the film itself so freely takes advantage of metaphor to get its message across. Ie. The avalanche represents so many tumultuous possibilities over the course of a relationship. What would you do in the same situation? If you ran, could you justify your actions? And what steps could possibly be taken to regain the trust you had lost?
The pacing is exceptional as a sense of whimsical dread takes over... you never feel afraid to experience the next step, but you always wonder if something terrible may be just around the bend. I'm fighting desperately not to say too much, but Ruben Östlund can be proud of this film. It's not your ordinary piece of cinema... and I'm left wondering wether we may ever see something like this come out of America. I absolutely give Force Majeure my stamp of approval. If it shows up in a theatre anywhere near you, I suggest you catch it.

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