All that I had seen from Force Majeure was the avalanche scene depicted in the gorgeous poster above. My understanding was that this was going to be a film about a family’s fight for survival amongst this natural disaster, my lack of knowledge about the film contributed greatly to my misunderstanding of what I was about to watch. However, whilst not physical, the family’s fight for survival wasn’t actually miles away from what Force Majeure presents as it follows the fallout from this one scene.
Force Majeure is a Swedish film, subtitled in English and it has been meet with great success worldwide. I’m not entirely sure if I understood what this film was about but nonetheless I did enjoy the movie. I liked the setting, the ski resort offered some really stunning scenery and the brightness of the white snow was always appealing meaning that any scenes in the mountains amongst the snow immediately engaged me. I also enjoyed the featuring of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Summer throughout the film. Sometimes this would have different effects depending on when it was included but certainly at the beginning I found it worked very well with the setting. The film is simultaneously extremely tense but also very humourous at points. There are scenes which are obviously intended to be very funny, look out for a bar scene in particular. Although, there are scenes which blur the lines of humour and tension meaning it can be hard to grasp the tone of the film at times. Others in the audience would be laughing hard at moments which I thought there was nothing funny about. I usually really dislike humour being brought into serious situations, and whilst I didn’t completely embrace it here I did begin to appreciate and maybe understand how it could work as I managed to have a chuckle at a few moments.
The film basically explores a family’s struggle to get on after the actions of the Father during the controlled avalanche. This is surprisingly interesting, as we watch the characters recall the events, explain their actions and debate their motives it gets the viewer involved as it allows us the space to make our own judgement. This is interesting but it doesn’t sustain attention for the entire two hour running time. The events of the film do begin to become monotonous in the second half of the film, even the enjoyable Vivaldi music becomes tiresome. Thankfully the film has a good finale which really brings together the events of the film and perfectly couples together the tension and humour that has been mixed throughout the film sometimes more successful than others. Despite the good finale I couldn’t help but wonder as the final scene plays out, what was the message or point of the film, was there even one? I really wasn’t sure if the viewer was meant to grasp anything from Force Majeure or whether or not it was designed to spark discussion. Regardless of this there was plenty to enjoy in Force Majeure and I am glad I saw it.
Force Majeure, whilst sometimes confusing in tone and slightly monotonous, is nearly always engaging. Whether this is through the breath taking scenery, the stunning silence in some scenes, the obviously funny moments or the uncomfortable tension there is usually something going on and you can never call what is going to happen!
Rating – 7/10