Quick-Thoughts: Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure (2014)

Ruben Östlund Marathon Part IV of V

If it weren’t for Mats, this movie would’ve been virtually nothing but pain. 

If you’ve ever heard people talk about how it takes no more than a second to ruin a marriage, they ain’t bulls**tting. There are a surplus of factors that are taken for granted, or more so, assumed upon when diving headfirst into the prospect of family. But the reality is, all it takes is one glimpse at a contradiction to something you’d always considered organic, meaning you never really had to question its existence, and you’ll… well… begin questioning it. Gender roles are an essential one: something that warps the more and more our independence to explore philosophical idealism is swelled, but something that will always exist in the back of our minds and far down in our gut so long as we’re human. 

Settings such as a cozy middle-class resort are semblances that convince us of our own security, automatically permitting people to indulge in more societal ethics rather than biological ones, and many have become accustomed to its comforts that program humans with an obliviousness to danger. Yet, the fact of the matter is, whenever the curtains do draw of needing to survive, the biological nature of attraction will lead however much again. Since the beginning of life, protection has been one of the key traits a man is most valued for, and in Force Majeure, its existence, hidden time and time again in the age of today, is exposed brutally.  

So when it happens, a wife’s image of her husband is shattered as if God is seemingly sending signal after signal to indicate that perhaps he’s a chum father and lover. The innocence exhibited by their forgiving children contradicts tragically with their Mother and Father’s interpersonal development as they attempt to mend their quarrel from escalating; they don’t quite understand the deeper impetus behind why his actions are condemned by their Mother in particular, but they understand it could be a dealbreaker for the both of them if they do confront it. The husband experiences a reality check from this breakage of once warm absent-mindedness: despite the security he provides for his family from his financially affluent job, he can still be on the lifeline for having any sort of slip up in his distribution of it, and the gender-based or parental-based reactions from others reaffirm to him more than the ones on the nature of ego that it’s something worthy of being profoundly ashamed of – the independence is unswelling! Thus, the movie is a medley of angles, and the often tense atmosphere Ruben Östlund masters here is able to magnify them as we pivot from each evolving character perspective.

Towards the final act, Force Majure then becomes a reclaiming of masculinity comedy. Proving you’re a traditional man may still be a requirement even in this day in age, but in bourgeois living conditions, maybe not as much as in the days of say Alexander the Great. The film has a marvelously bittersweet method of resolving it all, though mended with concernable pity, it restores the family image even so as something like a darkly waggish Homer Simpson kind of exemplum would promote.

Verdict: A-

Ruben Östlund Ranked

“Force Majeure” is now available to rent on Amazon Prime.

Published by

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s