Force Majeure – A cinematic force to be reckoned with
Written and directed by: Ruben Östlund
Tomas (Kuhnke) takes his wife Ebba (Kongsli) and their daughter and son (real life siblings Clara and Vincent Wettergen) on a lavish vacation at a French ski resort. They arrive and spend a day skiing and taking family photos. Everything seems perfect, but the fact that Ebba tells people that Tomas has been working to much and the vacation is meant to bring him back to being close to her and the kids.
On the second day they are eating lunch at an outdoor restaurant when there is an avalanche that heads straight for them. In a moment of panic, Tomas abandons his wife and children and runs for safety. This event is the tipping point in which both wife and children lose their trust and faith in the patriarch. The following three days are a series of events large and small, each giving birth to more and more tension within the family. Denial, mistrust, and anger all seep in and soon the vacation has become a nightmare.
If you, like myself, enjoy tense, emotional, character driven dramas I don’t know of many films I would recommend over “Force Majeure”. It is beautiful, tragic, and darkly funny. More importantly though, it tells a powerful story. The acting is great by the entire cast. I really enjoyed seeing Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane from Game of Thrones) in his role as a thoughtful friend of the family. The scenery is amazing, as one might expect given that every other scene is on a snow covered mountainside. The real highlight for me though is how well-crafted the story is and how sucked in I was emotionally. This is due both to a talented director and a solid script. Ruben Östlund, you are now officially on my radar! I loved this film, and would not be at all surprised if it wins best foreign language film at the Oscars.