FORCE MAJEURE, the new Swedish film from Ruben Östlund (as well as that country's submission for this year's Best Foreign Language Film), is a brilliantly conceived look at the male imperative as seen from inside and out, subjectively, objectively, and just about every which way.
Julia Loktev, The Loneliest Planet, you'll know what that events entails. Loktev's movie failed because of its refusal to explore, not just the event itself, but even simple characterization of those involved in it. Force Majeure explores it all, even as it entertains us spectacularly well by being intelligent, specific, encompassing and even quite a bit of fun.
Johannes Kuhnke, above, left) while on a family vacation at a resort in the French Alps, does something pivotal about which he must come to terms if he is to save his marriage and most probably himself.
Lisa Loven Kongsli (above, left) does a crack job of deciphering her, while allowing us to gradually understand the woman. Male and female "roles" are explored here about as well as I've seen done in decades of film-going.
Kristofer Hivju (above) and his a-bit-too-young girlfriend (Fanni Metelius). In a relatively (considering the events here) easy-going, believable manner, our current and rather long-standing ideas about manhood are held up to view and possibly challenged. But the filmmaker doesn't unduly push us in any direction, which is one of the beauties of this movie.
Magnolia Pictures and running 118 minutes, it opens today, Friday, October 24, in New York City at the Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinema. The following Friday, October 31, it hits another dozen cities (in L.A., it plays at several Laemmle theaters), and will continue its nationwide opening in cities across the country in the weeks and months to come. Click here to all currently scheduled playdates.