Movie Review: ‘Force Majeure’ Climbs the Mountainous Male Ego


Cole Clay // Film Critic

FORCE MAJUERE | 118 min. | Rated R | Director: Ruben Östlund | Stars: Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren and Vincent Wettergren

FORCE MAJEURE skates the line between a drama and a comedy unlike any film in recent years. The title stems from a phrase Wikipedia defines as an “unavoidable accident.” So check that fact for what it’s worth.

The film follows a Swedish family on a five day long ski trip, where all is well until an avalanche metaphorically rips the family apart.

Directed by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund, who focuses his gaze upon the imploding male ego after the patriarch’s primal instincts fail to protect his family. The film is incredibly thought provoking and a frequently funny study of a floundering family dynamic. Ostlund captures beautifully framed long takes that employ both comedic and dramatic tones.

FORCE MAJEURE opens today.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.