Metal Maniac

Movie Suggestion XLII: Turist (Force Majeure)



Movie Suggestion XLII: Turist (Force Majeure)


Country: Sweden | France | Norway | Denmark


Genre: Comedy, Drama


Directed by: Ruben Östlund


Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren




Synopsis: “A Swedish family travels to the French Alps to enjoy a few days of skiing. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but, during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche turns everything upside down. With diners fleeing in all directions, mother Ebba calls for her husband Tomas as she tries to protect their children. Tomas, meanwhile, is running for his life… The anticipated disaster failed to occur, and yet the family’s world has been shaken to its core, a question mark hanging over their father in particular. Tomas and Ebba’s marriage now hangs in the balance as Tomas struggles desperately to reclaim his role as family patriarch.” ( – Cannes Film Festival)




“Östlund has developed a reputation as something like Sweden’s answer to Michael Haneke, with a streak of caustic social observation a la Mike Leigh. He specialises, with utter coolness and control, in twisting the knife in the psyche of his characters – and by extension that of his nation. His 2008 film Involuntary was an ensemble comedy about everyday humiliations; Play (2011) followed a case of teenage bullying, the camera observing from a distance in surveillance style.




Force Majeure also carries echoes of Ingmar Bergman’s dissections of marital hell, but laced with sardonic comedy. Östlund not only burrows into his characters’ emotions but also, to deeply uncomfortable effect, takes us into their intimate habitat (…)” (




“I realize that I have described “Force Majeure” as a comedy, but be forewarned: there aren’t any actual jokes, per se. The pitch-black humor erupts at odd moments during awkward pauses, prompted by Östlund’s droll, dispassionate gaze at all these roiling caveman emotions tamped down for appearances’ sake in such a fussy, affluent locale. Those electric toothbrushes take on an amusingly symbolic weight as noisy instruments of useless modernity. Recurring appearances from a poker-faced janitor at times turn the film into a farce about just how goddamned impossible it is for a couple to have a conversation alone when traveling with the kids.” (




“Ruben Ostlund’s subtle and probing drama lays bare the tensions and misunderstandings in a seemingly happy marriage over the course of a week’s skiing holiday.




What causes the wife Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) to question her husband, Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), is his behaviour when it looks as if they are going to be caught in an avalanche. Rather than stay to help her and save the kids, he thinks only of himself… and his mobile phone. He (…).




The crisis lasts a matter of seconds but causes Ebba to doubt everything about him. He, in turn, is prey to intense self-pity. He is in a state of denial, and is also determined to assert his masculinity. Ostlund investigates how a single incident almost causes the life of an entire family to unravel; it even undermines the relationship of their friends. It’s a very clever film with a barbed ending.”




“There’s palpable tension here, but how much it emotionally grips us is another matter: Ostlund as director remains the observer, making for a certain coldness of emotion that matches the stark, pristine beauty of the exteriors. He also catches an unnerving sense that the physical environment of this ski resort functions with its own inevitability, with a carefully programmed behaviour that puts the human drama into a somehow alienated perspective. Too long by at least a reel, Force Majeure – its international release title is certainly much more nuanced than the Swedish original, which was simply Turist – falls down on its ending. It’s a baffling closing scene which, while it does re-address the film’s main concern of how to take control when confronting danger, nevertheless seems tacked on rather than incremental to what has come before. Strong performances notwithstanding, Force Majeure somehow seems a film that hits the head more than the heart.” (




All images belong to their rightful owners.

May 17, 2015


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