REVIEW: Force Majeure

Posted By: Richard Crouse · 10/31/2014 11:00:00 AM

“Force Majeure” mixes the banal with the spectacular to create a provocative psychological thriller about the male ego and the power of putting the toilet seat down… or leaving it up.

On a family skiing trip in the beautiful French Alps ski resort of Les Arcs, Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their two children (Clara Wettergren and Vincent Wettergren) enjoy a meal together after a day on the slopes. In what is to become the defining moment of Tomas’s life, he recoils in terror when an avalanche threatens the life of his wife and kids. Everyone survives physically, but Tomas’s masculinity takes a tremendous hit. His instinct for self-preservation haunts him and causes a rift between him and the people he loves.

Swedish director Ruben Ostlund takes him time setting up the story, pausing on the minutiae of the family’s life, until the astonishing avalanche scene. It’s ...