Force Majeure (2014) is a Swedish drama about an idyllic family of four vacationing at a ski resort when they are frightened by a controlled avalanche that comes too close to them on a restaurant patio. While everyone on the patio runs for cover, the husband inexplicably joins them while abandoning his wife and two kids. When the snow dust settles, the husband has to deal with the consequences of his action. I watched Force Majeure last night, just as I was hearing about Brian Williams getting suspended for six months, and I couldn’t help feeling the similarity. Although the actions of the husband and Brian Williams are dramatically different, they both are life changing and almost impossible to live down.
The Rotten Tomato critics loved Force Majeure at 93% and the audience enjoyed it at 79%. Me, not so much. In the movie, the husband’s brother defended him based on innate survival instinct, but I can’t believe that any parent would abandon their child during a life-threatening emergency. Brian Williams’s conduct, by contrast, is not surprising at all in our fame-obsessed culture. I give the movie only one and a half stars out of four.
Gone Girl (2014) is a psychological thriller about a guy (Ben Affleck) who becomes the leading suspect in his wife’s (Rosamund Pike from Pride & Prejudice fame) disappearance. I’m not usually a fan of this genre, especially when the star (Affleck) is an unlikeable slacker/loser. But Pike is so good that she carries the show. She reminds me of Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, and although this movie isn’t as good as that classic, I still give it three and a half stars out of four, which is pretty consistent with the Rotten Tomato critics score of 88% and its audience score of 88%, also.