|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 118 min.|
For Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and their two children it should be a relaxed family holiday in the French Alps. A week in the idyllic ski area to escape the worries of everyday life and simply enjoy the snow, the sun and the daily freshly groomed slopes. Everything could be so beautiful. But when an avalanche dissipates and races straight towards the restaurant on whose terrace the family is eating lunch, Tomas panically searches for space. He leaves his wife and children alone. When the situation calms down again and it is clear that no one has been hurt, Tomas sees the whole thing as nothing more than an exciting experience to tell his friends about in the evening. Not so for Ebba: she suddenly sees her husband with completely different eyes. And so the holiday idyll suddenly turns into a concrete marriage crisis, in which Ebba has to fight against the shock of the behaviour of her husband and Tomas with his questioned masculinity…
In Cannes Ruben Östlund's scenes of a marriage were frenetically celebrated. "Höhere Gewalt" even received the jury prize in the series Un Certain Regard. In essence, this enthusiasm is quite understandable. The way in which Östlund deconstructs common role models and exposes the fragility of a supposed family idyll is, in a sense, truly ingenious. The fact that biting humor creeps into the actually very dramatic events again and again also testifies to the director's great talent. Thus, there are some really great moments in the movie, in which "Force Majeure" can unfold an enormous power even in very quiet pictures.
However, this is not enough to carry the story over two very tough hours. The whole thing would have been enormously effective as a short film and it could have worked as a 90-minute feature film. But two hours is just way too long for not really much to happen. Thus a certain monotony spreads again and again, which threatens to degenerate into boredom after one hour at the latest. Surely, there will be some Arthaus-lovers who can get involved with the very slow pacing, the long shots and also the repetitive motives and especially see the unspectacular slowness as the movie's real strength. But the film will probably find it difficult to reach a broad audience even in the cinemas. The whole thing is too lazy and bulky to entertain more than just a niche audience.
Sure, a film like "Force Majeure" doesn't want to be a mainstream fare for the multiplexes. But it's always a pity when good stories are deprived of any entertainment value in the classical sense by an artistic demand and simply can't appeal to the audience that they deserve. And that's why it's true: Who appreciates biting marriage dramas and can get involved in a somewhat exhausting staging, will probably have a lot of fun on this horror vacation. But those who can't do much with tough arthauskost should avoid this film. Only with restrictions worth seeing!
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