(dir. Ruben Ostland)
After reading rave reviews, watching Force Majeure certainly lived up to expectations. I’m not sure whether it’s the way the fickle exploits of this privileged family ring so hilariously true with my own kin, or whether it’s the thoughtful gender and relationship questions brought up that filled me with glee, but either way Force Majeure was a fantastic, riveting watch.
The second you feel that you’ve finally adjusted to the film’s dark humour and unbearable tension, Ostland has that knack of immediately displacing your comfort all over again, and while you claw at your face wishing the agony would cease, you find yourself wondering: “how am I so caught up in the banality of this middle class family’s anxiety-ridden holiday?” And, in response, you wonder whether to laugh or feel ultimately bleak. This kind of film ranks very highly with me.
Feeling like 2001:A Space Odyssey at times with its other-worldly, haunting shots of vast snowy expanse, there is a sense that this holiday has rendered the characters strangers, inverting their comfort with each other and trapping them in a Shining-style suffocating hellhole from which there is no escape; no chance of forgetting the “horrors” they have experienced.
The fluctuations from comfortable to tense, male-dominated to female-dominated, rightly anxious to outright paranoid, coax the film on in an interesting and original direction, and offers a well-captured observation of turbulent real-life.