Force Majeure uses the overwhelming, desolate terror of the Alps as a reflection for a crisis in masculinity. It is a surprising psychological drama, placing its chill firmly within the hearts of its characters. A Swedish disaster film of sorts, to say too much would pay a disservice to the film’s unexpected drama. It’s an extremely uncomfortable film, slowly paced and takes its time, allowing the terror to seep in.
A Swedish family take a skiing holiday on the French Alps when they get caught in avalanche. At first everyone in the nearby restaurant plays it cool, it’s controlled and man made. Phones come out and people marvel. It gets closer and closer and the nervousness becomes full blown terror. Very suddenly, life will not be the same again, at least for this particular family, as hidden emotions and insecurities are released with this colossal force of nature. Despite being shot with great beauty, rarely have such picturesque slopes been so utterly unromanticised. The film has a surprising, dry wit, which is a great relief given the density of the emotions. Performances are sharp and the film is constantly surprising in tone and direction, cutting deeply into uncomfortable and rarely explored territory.
Review by David Rank
Running time 120 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).