Swedish director Ruben Ostlund's icily disquieting family drama, set in a ritzy ski resort in the French Alps, is a disaster movie without a disaster. This black comedy forces the major players to think seriously about family over self-preservation. It is incredibly amusing and incredibly cringe-worthy.
Tomas (Kuhnke) and Ebba (Kongsli) and their two sons are holidaying in the Alps. Sitting on a terrace overlooking the mountains they are happily enjoying lunch when an Avalanche explodes around them. The interesting thing about this Avalanche is that it doesn't actually happen. A shower of ice and snow falls on the Terrace but then the danger passes.
When Ebba turns to find her Husband she sees he is gone, i.e. he has left her and their children and rushed to save himself. This all happens in the first ten minutes or so of the film but takes the rest of the film for Tomas to admit he was wrong. His inability to accept responsibility for his actions is embarrassing to watch and it just gets worse as the film progresses. But it is also incredibly amusing and ironic in its scripting and things hot up when Ebba starts standing up for herself and questioning their marriage.
There is the wisp of a plot, as I've described, but the interactions after the "disaster" are far more interesting than any old disaster film. Tomas, Ebba and their friends continually come back to the discussion about Tomas' denial.
When Tomas finally admits he ran away it is very much an anti-climax.
The ending of the film sees the family try to ski down a mountain in dense fog. Tomas leads and Ebba skis behind the children. Then he notices that Ebba is missing and he leaves the children to go and find her and returns shortly after carrying Ebba to safety. Strangely, this seems to Ebba to be a sign that all is now well with their marriage and they will be happy now. The irony that he left the children, again, seems lost on Ebba.
This is an enjoyable, humorous and thought provoking film which just missed out on an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2014.
Force Majeure earned $1.4mil Worldwide at the Box Office.