There's a far superior film that came out several years ago before the newest English-remake, it's called Force Majeure (2014). Watch that film instead.
Downhill is a frustrating English-remake that takes its audience on a crash course with no return. Not escaping the inevitable avalanche are actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell. In the end, Downhill is a shallow attempt to construct anything new or original out of a previously marvelous movie. 2014's Swedish film, Force Majeure, was wholly original, darkly funny, and even uncomfortable at times. We studied the gleefully unsettling relationship between a husband and wife while taking their two children on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. Director Ruben Östlund's (The Square, 2017) psychodrama will get under your skin and cause you to reflect on your own communication skills with others. The husband, Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke), is a Swedish businessman whose profound narcissism will lead him to make some acute mistakes while on his family's holiday trip.
The wife, Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) doesn't want to listen to Tomas' workaholic mannerisms. Instead, she simply wants him to unplug from his electronics and spend more time with her and their children. The incident that happens next and spirals the story into a battling territory is a controlled avalanche that's being conducted nearby. This is a key shot for Force Majeure and the scene runs a little more than 3 minutes long. One of the avalanches sends a massive amount of snow down the mountainside. Ebba remarks: "Doesn't look controlled to me," but Tomas begins to take video footage with his camera anyway. The snow appears to be not stopping towards their dining area and what happens next doesn't cost any lives, but it does cost a break of trust between Tomas and Ebba. Within a split second, Tomas panics, runs, saving only himself, and leaves behind his family on the deck. Ebba instead grabs her two children and warps them into her arms, as any parent should. Tomas returns shortly after the snowy air begins to clear, but it is too late because Ebba has lost all respect for him.
From there, Force Majeure turns into a dark comedy and a brawling match between Tomas and Ebba. A game of tug-and-pull, their arguing will have you walking on eggshells. Force Majeure was a critical favorite and word-of-mouth sensation at the 2014's Cannes Festival, where it took home the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard. Östlund's wickedly funny film was also nominated for an Oscar — Best Foreign Language Film. I am sparing you the agony of watching 2020's half-baked English-remake, known as Downhill. In Downhill, all of the charm and comedy is evaporated into thin air. There's no room for Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell to fully grow into their characters, leaving us with an unsatisfying taste in our mouths. Downhill wants to be everything that Force Majeure was but still cannot muster up enough strength to be anything new either. So, allow me to save you some time and money: Right now, Östlund's Force Majeure is streaming on Hulu or you can rent it on Amazon Prime Video. Go quarantine yourself and watch this delicious Swedish treat.
This wannabe Force Majeure remake is rated R (Restricted) For language and some sexual material.
Directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash
Starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell
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