An Avalanche of Melodrama – Force Majeure (2014)

Pretty tedious.  So this is about a family on a skiing vacation in the French Alps.  There’s an avalanche during their lunch right next to the resort where they are staying, and while there are no fatalities or even injuries, everybody is shook up, and the entire dynamic of the family changes.  Going off of the trailer, I was actually pretty excited for this.  It intrigued me with a unique scenario, because I have no idea what I would do if I were to be stuck in an avalanche.  I like the premise and the set-up, but everything past the avalanche is like being forced to watch some family’s therapy session, trying to deal with PTSD.

force-majeure-cannes-21Which is not something I typically look for in a film.

It is true: foreign films have a different pace than American films.  I can typically deal with it, but between this and Ida, this year’s foreign offerings just didn’t do it for me.  This seems like somebody trying to replicate a Michael Haneke film, treating humans as being cold, uncompromising beings, but there are just so many scenes in here that are just needlessly drawn out with extended takes, and it gets really dull, really fast.  I tried to be patient with it, but so much of this just feels like padding, and I could never at any point get into it.  It’s really a movie that you dwell on, and there are lots of long shots of people in deep thought, thinking about everything that has just happened.  It’s the kind of movie where you could fast forward through a number of different slow spots and not miss a thing.

majuereIf you can describe your movie as being “a meditation”, chances are I’m not going to be a big fan.

When you see the avalanche happen initially, there’s a lot going on all at once, but you can tell the off thing that happened right off the bat.  This film could have gone a number of different directions from there, but the route that it took is one that I wasn’t on board with.  I really like the idea and conceit behind this, just not the execution.  It’s about 75 minutes of story stretched across two hours.  Does that sound like something that appeals to you?

Force Majeure (2014) **

– Critic for Hire


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