Thursday, December 4, 2014

FORCE MAJEURE (Ruben Östlund, 2014)

This is a fantastic film with an ingeniously simple yet complex premise. A swedish man is on a skiing holiday in the french alps with his wife and two young children. While they are having lunch on a restaurant balcony, a controlled avalanche gets out of control and looks set to engulf them. At the crucial moment, when everybody starts to panic, he runs away, leaving his wife and children. The snow clears, everything turns out to be fine, and he returns to the table. The whole incident only lasts 20 seconds. But the damage is done. And the film is about the emotional fallout from that split second choice.

It's very tense and awkward a lot of the time, but also extremely funny, and just beautifully played out altogether. Visually it's very reminiscent of Kubricks "The Shining", both in the set design of the ski resort and the long, strark tracking shots out on the slopes. The sound is used super effectively too, with many scenes having no music or dialogue, just a whole lot of silence with the excruciating clack of ski boots or clank of the chair lift to make things extra tense.

It might not sound like much fun, but it really is! It's just great filmmaking. Don't stooge yourself by letting it pass you by...

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