(Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, et al / DVD / NR / 2015 / Magnolia Home Entertainment)
Overview: This wickedly funny and precisely observed psychodrama tells the story of a model Swedish family handsome businessman Tomas, his willowy wife Ebba and their two blond children on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche suddenly bears down on the happy diners.
DVD Verdict: For all it hype, and boy, has there been some hype about this movie, 'Force Majeure' is a long-winded drama, set and shot in a resort in the French Alps, during a five- day family holiday. A narrow escape from an impromptu avalanche results in Tomas' (Johannes Kuhnke) instinctive reaction. Ironically it causes a snowball effect in the family dynamic and patriarch in particular. With great performances by all involved, especially Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) this film builds, and maintains an awkward tension throughout.
With lengthy takes and drawn out moments, it succeeds in creating realism. However, it treads a fine line between tiresome and artistic. An abundance of beautiful cinematography and scenery, although seemingly gratuitous at times, it is definitely something to look at. With a score and flow you'll either love or hate, the technical aspects of the film surpass the plot development. An intriguing premise that provided food-for-thought as the film progressed, was let down by a somewhat weak and untidy finale; sorry.
In closing, 'Force Majeure' examines multiple aspects of a couple: as a husband and wife, as parents, and as compatible adults, even though they don't lack of some fundamental differences which might indicate a big separation in their personal ideology. I think this movie will divide opinions on whether or not it was 90 minutes well spent or not. And, in truth isn't that exactly what a writer/producer/director set out to cinematically do each and every time? This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Interview with Writer/Director Ruben Ostlund and Actor Johannes Bah Kuhnke
AXS TV: A Look At Force Majeure