Force Majeure (2014)
Starring Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Vincent Wettergren, Clara Wettergren, and Kristofer Hivju
Directed by Ruben Östland
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
I recently watched Foxcatcher and commented about how the slow pace of the film somehow enriched that experience and made the film better overall. Quite the opposite could be said about the Swedish film Force Majeure, winner of the Jury Prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. The simplistic story attempts to create some dramatic heaviness by moving at a snail's pace, but instead it just becomes irritatingly mundane and bland.
On a vacation in a ski resort in the French Alps, Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), his wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli), and their two children Vera and Harry (Clara and Vincent Wettergren) are spending a lovely afternoon eating lunch on an outdoor deck. The resort sets off controlled avalanches in order to keep the slopes safe for skiers and on this particular afternoon, one of the avalanches goes slightly awry and seems to head straight for the dining deck. In a moment of panic, Tomas runs, leaving his wife and children behind. Fortunately, there wasn't much to worry about when it came to the avalanche, but Tomas' instincts cause Ebba and the two kids to question whether their husband and father truly cares about their well-being.
Unfortunately, while the premise creates an interesting conundrum for Tomas, I found myself caring very little for the family's questioning of their circumstances. For nearly two hours, we're treated to a lot of whining from all parties and while the psychological dynamics should've proven fascinating, I couldn't remove myself from this family's plight fast enough. Bland, boring, yet admittedly visually appealing, Force Majeure can't sustain itself over its runtime and produces only yawns.
The RyMickey Rating: D+