Foreign drama pieces from the modern age are, sincerely, some of the best films we shall ever receive. Often showcasing mundane lifestyles that are thrown into catastrophe (look no further than the perfection of 2012’s The Hunt), Force Majeure looks to show us the fallout and impact of a family that survive not just an avalanche, but the after effects and tensions of such an event. Mistakenly entering this thinking it was a thriller about survival, the film soon eclipses a thriller of relationships and how the smallest of decisions can lead to the largest of breakdowns.
That, as a premise and principle of the movie, is intriguing and engaging. The dissection of a family going through a tribulation is always good content for a drama movie, and seeing how director Ruben Östlund handles this is trly interesting. For such a film to take this ideal and run with it would be an incredible experience, unfortunately Force Majeure isn’t nearly competent enough to create a film that provides us with a lasting impression.
There’s something that just feels unnatural about both the characters and the dialogue they have with one another that makes Force Majeure an incredible dull and difficult watch. Not difficult in the matter of its subject, but in how it is presented to its audience. Claustrophobic corridors litter a ski resort hotel that looks to show us the best of what Östlund can give us. Unfortunately, his best comes up short here, and this may be due to attempts at grandiose cinematography in such a compact space. His focused attention on his characters falls short due to uninteresting dialogue and unbelievable characters.
Maybe it’s down to the performances of the cast, who at times feel like they’re faltering under a script that is too heavy handed to really provide us with anything of interest. There are no nice flourishes, nor are there any parts of the film that feel polished enough to provide us with a convincing family relationship between any of our leading characters. Johannes Ban Kuhnke and Lisa Loven Kongsli star as married couple Tomas and Ebba. Their chemistry is wilting, much like their marriage throughout the painfully slow running time of the film. With no real impact behind the writing, Force Majeure fails to bring us a relatable or even interesting piece of film.
Many of the problems for Force Majeure come from the inability to provide a consistently engaging tone or message of the movie. Östlund and his crew can only do so much under the pressures of a script in desperate need of a polish. A real shame that this one falls to pieces, especially since its concept is such an intriguing one. It may get some through to the bitter end, but Force Majeure is an avalanche of issues.