Straight away I have to tell you that might not be the movie you think it’s going to be. Force Majeure or Turist is a slow-burning and highly immersive drama infused with black humor. It relies on brilliantly written and realistic dialogue to keep you engaged as apart from one major event nothing happens in this movie. So, if you’re expecting something pacey and more akin to American-style dramedies, you won’t get it. Set against the backdrop of a stunningly gorgeous ski resort in France, this is a movie that you have to be in the mood for. I found it to be oddly relaxing despite the pervasive tension oozing from every scene. You see, I’ve never been skiing so I felt like I was on a vacation with Tomas and Ebba.
This is a highly thought-provoking movie that pushes you to examine things we usually take for granted. We will be following a family during their six-day vacation in the French Alps. During that time, one event will open Pandora’s box of questions, doubts, and regrets. And it will suck in all the people around them in that emotional whirlpool. You might say that Force Majeure examines morality in marriage and what it means to both genders. However, it does so in a very down-to-Earth and digestible way. This isn’t some elevated study of gender roles questioning what it means to our very reality but a voyeuristic look at these subjects.
I know that I’ve been quite vague when it comes to the story, but I want you to feel the full force of this Force Majeure because it works best that way. If you already know what’s going to happen, the whole experience becomes less engaging. Although it takes nothing away from this Ruben Östlund’s masterpiece. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because he just released his first English-speaking movie, Triangle of Sadness. And it’s a good one, I’ve already checked it out. All I have to do now is watch the middle movie in this trilogy, The Square starring none other than Peggy AKA Elisabeth Moss.
We find Tomas, Ebba, Vera, and Harry all enjoying their vacation high in the French Alps. They’re a happy family that loves skiing and outdoor activities. One day, they decide to have lunch in a restaurant at the top of their hotel, offering magnificent views of the surrounding mountains. It starts just like any other lunch they had but soon turns into something else. Something that will haunt their vacation, family, and personal life for a very long time.
I still can’t believe just how beautiful this ski resort is. Ruben will show us exactly how it functions with stunning aerial and night shots. And a healthy slice of the family life. Depending on your sense of humor, Force Majeure AKA Turist also offers black or absurdist humor. I found the exchanges to be funny purely because of the characters although, on the face of it, this is quite a depressing situation. Actually, you could argue that it’s thoroughly gloomy and that you shouldn’t laugh at it. But exactly that is what is making it so funny.
Plus, you already know how much I loathe these wealthy fucks. I’m that guy smoking in the hallway thinking what the fuck are these people doing. The movie is counting on our own sense of morality to judge these characters and counter the narrative. And at the same time, perhaps look at our own lives and see if there’s something similar there. I think it will be especially interesting to those who have families with children as they can relate better to events. And just to be perfectly clear, I don’t have any children and I still enjoyed it.
Finally, you should know that Fox Searchlight bought the rights to a remake so we can expect it to be released in the following years. I know it’s not quite the same but this year there was another more straightforward movie released with a similar theme. Speak No Evil is a psychological horror movie following two families on vacation gone wrong.
Director: Ruben Östlund
Writer: Ruben Östlund
Cast: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren, Kristofer Hivju
Fun Facts: The inspiration for the main event of the movie came from a YouTube clip director Ruben Östlund saw.