Swedish film Force Majeure ★★★★★
Swedish Oscar Winners 2014
Force Majeure reviews at Cannes last year hailed the film as a critical favourite, giving it the Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category, and the film collected a smorgasbord of trophies at the Swedish Oscars 2014. Good films to watch in London this month have a worthy competitor in Force Majeure, Ruben Östlund's wickedly funny social drama about a marriage on the brink of destruction.
Force Majeure: film plot
The Swedish film Force Majeure follows a seemingly perfect family as they go on a luxurious skiing holiday in the French Alps. The wealthy, attractive couple Tomas and Ebba and their two adorable children are the picture of family life – indeed, the film opens with the foursome posing for a portrait on a smooth, picture-perfect Alpine peak, white as the icing of the couple's undoubtedly splendid wedding cake. As the day goes on, tensions increase – yet so minutely as to not even bear comment. Yet, when the family find themselves having lunch at a stunning viewing spot atop the mountain, a (controlled) avalanche takes place before there eyes. No injuries occur – there's no disaster so to speak – yet this seemingly innocuous event leaves the stability of family life in utter disrepair.
The film's real talent is in its utter lack of sensationalism: it dryly builds out from light, observational comedy into the psychodrama the film eventually reveals itself to be. The camera follows the actors faithfully and steadily, leaving the drama to unfold not through cheap directorial tricks but by minuscule changes in facial expression, denoting the couple's steadily building irritation with one another. The music, too, is a genius touch, managing to convey with consistent, growing irony the sense that this claustrophobic holiday is anything but relaxing, and the film eventually reaches a peak of unbearable – but knuckle-bitingly funny – tension.
'a wry, minimalist, Swedish Wes Anderson'
A blink-and-you'll-miss-it social commentary, the film smartly and subtly deals with notions of patriarchy and masculinity, managing to be wickedly funny and utterly tragic at the same time and paying testament to director Ruben Östlund's mastery of his subject matter. Like a wry, minimalist, Swedish Wes Anderson, Östlund's precise black humour creeps up on his viewers and leaves them enraptured by the ridiculousness afforded by banality.
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
10 Apr 15 – 31 Oct 15, 12:00 AM
|Website||Click here to book via the Curzon website.|