Force Majeure

Ski resorts are ripe screen territory, having set the scene for Swiss drama Sister by Ursula Meier (no relation – probably), British rom-com Chalet Girl (never seen it) and the South Park episode ‘Asspen’. Now, Swedish comedy/drama Force Majeure chooses an Alpine ski resort as the setting for the family holiday from hell.

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Wincingly original, Force Majeure (in my head it’s Force Midge Ure) sees an awful family torn apart by a controlled avalanche. It’s a pretty stifling viewing experience, but completely rewarding. The performances are brilliantly observed, particularly Johannes Bah Kuhnke as the feckless father – a Swedish Kiefer Sutherland.

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Kiefer Sutherland

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Johannes Kuhnke

Writer/director Ruben Östlund painfully captures the power of an incidental moment, and how a throwaway comment can rob you of nights and nights of sleep. At its most brutal, this is like watching a couple you’re friends with having a massive row.

The film also features an inspired use of sound including Vivaldi’s Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, stunning shots of Alpine landscapes, and some of the most squirm-inducing dining scenes since that one in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal where Anthony Hopkins feeds Ray Liotta a slice of his own brain.

Funny and traumatic in equal measure, Force Majeure is a knuckle-gnawingly entertaining musing on family and masculinity. As chilly as its Alpine setting, the film strikes a raw nerve and coolly hits home. Imagine a sitcom set in The Shining‘s Overlook Hotel and you’re halfway there.

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One response to “Force Majeure

  1. Pingback: Elle | Screen Goblin·

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