Think of this avalanche of surprises as National Lampoon’s Swedish Ski Vacation as directed by Ingmar Bergman. And that’s still not the half of it. All seems well as Dad (Johannes Bah Kuhnke), Mom (Lisa Loven Kongsli) and preteen kids, played by real-life sibs Clara and Vincent Wettergren, prep for a cool time on the slopes. Then hell freezes over.
It’s Day Two when filmmaker Ruben Östlund (Play) ignites the plot. The family is eating lunch at an outdoor cafe when the snow starts sliding in spectacular fashion. Panic hits. Mom rushes to help her kids and yells to her hubby. When the snow fog lifts, it appears that Dad has run off to save his ass, leaving everyone to replay the trauma in their heads and on their smartphones. Östlund shifts gears from humor to psychological thriller, redefining courage and family in the process. Force Majeure is a jolt. You won’t know what hit you.