Force Majeure | Chicago Reader

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Rated R · 118 minutes · 2014

Comedy, Dark comedy, Drama
If Michael Haneke were recruited to direct an American sitcom pilot, the results might look something like this Swedish feature, about an upper-middle-class family vacationing unhappily in the French Alps. Like Haneke, writer-director Ruben Östlund (Play) employs eerily controlled long takes to conjure an air of doom around his characters, yet beneath the commanding surfaces lie some rather basic observations about marriage, parenting, and social conformism. For a comedy about emotional pain, this is neither discomforting nor terribly funny, and the satire of bourgeois complacency doesn't cut very deep. A few sequences, though, are potent enough to hint at the squirm-inducing provocation this might have been, namely an awkward double date between the spouses and another vacationing couple that mutates into a long, passive-aggressive debate. In English and subtitled Swedish.
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