Opening 20 Nov 2014
Writing credits: Ruben Östlund
Principal actors: Johannes Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Clara Wettergren, Vincent Wettergren
Settled in a luxurious French Alps hotel, far from their native Sweden, the family’s dream-come-true ski holiday is off to a good start. But when an out-of-control avalanche scatters terrified diners on the outdoor terrace, the dream turns into a nightmare. Whereas mama grabs the two siblings and dives under the table, papa grabs his cell phone and runs for his life. Not talking about the event magnifies the subsequent feelings of betrayal. When Ebba and Thomas invite friends for dinner, it becomes apparent that Thomas’ memory of the almost-disaster is very different from all others present. As vacation days dwindle and his patriarch position shifts, so do the periphery of each members’ position.
Ruben Östlund wrote, directed, and edited (with Jacob Secher Schulsinger) this befuddled attempt at a tragicomedy. The film’s biggest problem is the sloppy script, with its lack of continuity and credibility. Too often, events occur that seem incongruent to the story; only later do we become privy to contextual information. The editing is muddled, and listening to two children berating and bossing their parents is not funny – more a bleak commentary on some peoples’ contemporary idea of humor. Fredrik Wenzel’s camerawork is noteworthy – especially the night Alpine shots, as is Ola Flottum’s music. Granted, the film has a few truly comedic moments, but Sweden obviously does not want the Oscar® if this is their entry. (Marinell Haegelin)