Saturday, 14 February 2015

FORCE MAJEURE - DVD Review By Greg Klymkiw - Domestic Drama fromFilmsWeLike

Just in time for Valentine's Day long weekend is the DVD release via FilmsWeLike of Sweden's FORCE MAJEURE. It's a perfect film for young lovers (especially those considering marriage) and certainly, it makes for fine family viewing since it presents a superb mirror image for Moms, Dads and the little nippers of their own lives.

At press time, I was unable to assess the Blu-Ray, but the DVD (especially if you play it on a Blu-Ray player with a high-def monitor) will look absolutely gorgeous - the snowy whites of the Alps, blasting your eyeballs and the well composed and apportioned dollops of glorious colour will massage your oculi to put you and those you love in a state of blissful complacency before the film's inner, roiling power explodes into the true savagery inherent in love.

Added bonii include a superb interview with  writer-director 
Ruben Östlund and star Johannes Bah Kuhnke in addition to an AXS TV featurette: A Look At Force Majeure. Below is the full review of the film and ordering information - you can conveniently purchase the picture directly from this website via Amazon.
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder.
Disaster, however, is always looming.
Force Majeure (2014)
Dir. Ruben Östlund
Starring: Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Kristofer Hivju, Fanni Metelius

Review By Greg Klymkiw

A perfect nuclear family from Sweden - gorgeous, physically fit and full of smiles - pose for holiday snaps on the slopes during a ski vacation in the French Alps. They appear, for all intents and purposes, to have a perfect existence.

Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) are such peas in a pod they perform nightly ablutions together with vigour and their two children actually get along with each other, happily playing like little piggies in a mud pen.

All four of them even wear stylish matching pyjamas as they nap together after a few hours of exercising their ludicrously lithe bodies in out-of-doors family-fun-frolics. How could anything go wrong?

From the very opening frames and onwards, filmmaker Ruben Östlund has us believing that nothing could be this perfect. His miss-en-scene is rife with gorgeously composed, almost perfectly symmetrical shots with long takes and very judicious cutting. The pace is so meticulous, so strangely mannered, that something, anything, could happen. Sure enough, whilst they all happily dine on an outdoor terrace, a huge avalanche crashes down and everyone in view of the fixed position of the camera disappears in a spray of snow.

False alarm.

As the fog of snow dissipates, it's clear the avalanche fell with considerable force, but at a great distance away. Ebba and the children, still at the table, gather their wits about them. Tomas enters the frame and the four sit down to eat. Little does Tomas know, but he's in big trouble - or rather, his actions during the false disaster have placed a seed in Ebba's mind that's only going to grow - a seed of doubt. It's going to produce a sharp thorn in Ebba's craw that she's going to rip out and then, repeatedly plunge into Tomas with until she creates open wounds that will fester into gooey, viscous clumps, like some rapid flesh eating disease.

Does Tomas really love his family? Does he love Ebba? Does he care about anyone other than himself? If he did, why would he leave his family behind and run like a coward when disaster seemingly struck?

These are questions that come up again and again and yet again. Hell hath no fury like a woman who believes she's been scorned - it's usually worse than if she had been genuinely decimated. Ebba not only casts aspersions upon her husband's manhood, but begins to construct a belief that their marriage is in serious jeopardy.

If she'd only keep it between them, it would be one thing, but she hurls her accusatory doubts in front of the children, strangers and even close friends who join them on the trip. Her construct becomes an inescapable reality and over the next five days in the Alps, Östlund serves us domestic fireworks - Swedish style, of course - as things get intensely, harrowingly and even hilariously chilly.

Force Majeure is, for most of its running time, a tour de force of domestic drama dappled with mordant wit amidst a snowy backdrop. With sharp writing, gorgeous, controlled direction and performances that are quite perfect, it's too bad Östlund's screenplay hands us a major copout during the final third when he manufactures a false, forced symmetry to the aforementioned situation - one that's so predictable we can't actually believe it's happening.

When it does, indeed, unfurl, the almost inept balancing of the conjugal power dynamic feels painfully didactic. In a movie where we're normally on the edge of our seats, wondering what could be lurking round every corner, we do suspect Östlund could well take us in this particular direction, but we assume he never would.

We assumed ever-so mistakenly.


Force Majeur is currently available on DVD from FilmsWeLike. Feel free to order directly from the Amazon links below and in so doing, contribute to the ongoing maintenance of The Film Corner.

In Canada - BUY Force Majeure HERE, eh!

In USA and the rest of the WORLD - BUY Force Majeure - HERE!

In the UNITED KINGDOM - BUY Force Majeure - HERE!