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Family vacations can be a royal pain in the ass when they don't work out. What's supposed to normally be a time of bonding and relaxation can sometimes turn into nothing short of a nightmare straight from the depths of Hell. Luckily for us, the drama on display in director Ruben Ostlund's Force Majeure is safely restricted to the big screen. Which is perfect, considering this movie centers around an anticipated avalanche that doesn't end up happening. Somehow this is the catalyst that turns what starts out looking like a Wes Anderson film into something more along the lines of Lars Von Trier.
Variety has the good news that indie powerhouse Magnolia Pictures has acquired distribution rights Force Majeure's eventual U.S. Release. This is especially good news when you look at Magnolia's distribution pattern of releasing a film on VOD, followed by a limited theatrical platform, and then a quick home video/streaming arrival a couple of months after. It's a pattern that's suited the company with films like its V/H/S franchise, as it helps expose a wider range of audiences to the work at hand.
As for the plot to Force Majeure, there's a bunch of clues scattered throughout Ruben Ostlund's rather minimalist trailer. It looks like more of a disjointed sales reel than an actual narrative trailer, with a lot of rough edges that can easily be smoothed out by some more dialogue and a couple of title cards. That said, the roughness doesn't dim the bleak looking narrative that's on display. From what I can tell, this family is suffering from the time old ailment of "daddy works too hard," so naturally the family is trying to unwind with what they think will be a fun vacation.
While the vacation look fun to a certain degree, it looks like the trip fails to rid the family of their tension. In fact, all signs are pointing to an impending divorce or dissolution of some sort between the couple, and the fallout is taking its toll on the children. Throw in the possibility of a wrongful death investigation or someone being trapped on the slopes, and you can see why the film takes the title of Force Majeure, which translates into "an act of God."
No release date has been set for Force Majeure just yet, but taking into account Magnolia's previously mentioned release strategy of acquiring hot foreign releases and slowly rolling them out to bigger and bigger audiences, we could expect to see this on VOD sometime late this summer, in the hopes of securing an awards season ready theatrical release. This already looks like a good contender for a Best Foreign Film nomination, as well as a great launching pad for Ruben Ostlund's directorial career, so Magnolia is going to want to play their cards right on this one.