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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Force Majeure [Blu-ray]

 

(Ruben ÷stlund, 2014)

 

Also available in North America from Magnolia:

   

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Plattform Produktion

Video: Artificial Eye

 

Disc:

Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:59:24.041 

Disc Size: 42,256,047,558 bytes

Feature Size: 38,297,539,776 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.96 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 29th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio Swedish 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio Swedish 3365 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3365 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (burned-in for non-English dialogue)

 

Extras:

Behind the Scenes (12:09)
Oscar Nominated Scene (6:08)
Trailer (1:35)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: This wickedly funny and precisely observed psychodrama tells the story of a model Swedish family handsome businessman Tomas, his willowy wife Ebba and their two blond children on a skiing holiday in the French Alps. The sun is shining and the slopes are spectacular but during a lunch at a mountainside restaurant, an avalanche suddenly bears down on the happy diners. With people fleeing in all directions and his wife and children in a state of panic, Tomas makes a decision that will shake his marriage to its core and leave him struggling to reclaim his role as family patriarch.

 

 

The Film:

The term force majeure refers to a chance occurrence that can change everything. It is a clause that is put into contracts that frees both parties of responsibility, an unavoidable accident, or, quite simply an act of God. In a remote ski resort full of rich tourists in the French Alps, an unsuspecting Swedish family is about to come up against such an event. While sitting at lunch one day, they notice an avalanche beginning to roll down the side of a nearby mountain. Responding with his first instinct, Tomas, the father of the group, flees the table, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. After assessing that no bodily damage has been done, the family tries to go on enjoying their holiday, but it is not long before they are having awkward dinner conversations with strangers and strained interactions about the way they separately perceive how events played out. Coupling intelligence with aesthetics, director Ruben ÷stlund presents a biting satire of masculinity. Peppered with surrealist sequences, the atmospheric film uses the imposing landscape to build images of a white abyss that one can lose themself in while the blasting Vivaldi score is reminiscent of the most powerful sequences in films like Lars von Trier's Melancholia. While not strictly a genre movie, Force Majeure deals with something much more real and horrifying. ÷stlund, who has made a career for himself out of cinematic morality tales, applies his scathing wit to these scenarios and creates a kind of psychological nightmare for his characters, one in which the humor and pain of their world's unraveling is so palpable that it is cringe inducing to watch, but the results are far too relatable to look away.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

For a fleeting moment, one could reasonably mistake Force Majeure for a disaster movie. Certainly, its characters might wonder, through their panic and fear, if they’ve somehow stumbled into one. The pivotal scene arrives early, on the second day of a blissful family vacation. Seated for a relaxing lunch on the terrace of a French ski resort, married Swedish parents Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) are alarmed by the rapid approach of snow, tumbling down the adjacent slope in their general direction. As the wall of white seems to close in on them, expanding outward with menacing speed, Thomas makes an instinctual flee for safety, completely abandoning Ebba and their two young children. The avalanche, as it turns out, is controlled; what looks like certain doom is just a false alarm, a dramatic billow of powder. But as the smoke clears, so too does any illusion Ebba might have held about Tomas and his paternal instincts. There’s no going back from such a flagrant act of self-preservation, however involuntary it might have been.

Excerpt from The Onion located HERE

 

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Force Majeure gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Artificial Eye.  It is solidly into dual-layered territory and has a max'ed-out bitrate. Shot with the Arri Alexa - it produces a flawless image. The 1080P supports the beauty of the Les Arcs, Savoie, France outdoor scenes frequently looking impressive.  It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there are really no flaws with the rendering. This Blu-ray probably looks like exactly the theatrical version of the film Force Majeure. The disc provides an impressive video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

AE give the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3365 kbps or a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo at 2304 kbps - both in original Swedish. There are atmospheric effects of the ski milieu but the impacting audio is the music - notably Antonio Vivaldi (Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, 'L'estate') and a score by Ola FlÝttum. It sounds truly magnificent in lossless. Nothing but positives here for the audio transfer as well. There are burned-in English subtitles for the non-English dialogue and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.

 

Extras :

Extras for this 2-hour film are not extensive - we get a dozen-minute Behind the Scenes featurette with much of the standard, a repeat of the Oscar-nominated scene running 6 minutes and a trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
What a great film. Force Majeure is the kind of cinema that appeals to different individuals for varied reasons - some see the black comedy elements, personally, I was quite uncomfortable with the situation but there were still plenty of amusing sequences. This is compelling in a kind of Rohmer-esque sense - a simple human-interaction that gains importance as we recognize its affecting relevance. Quite brilliant really.  The Artificial Eye Blu-ray provides wonderful a/v presentation of a marvelous film. This is one modern film you don't want to miss. It should provoke thoughtful discussion post-viewing either with those close to you - or internally. Highly recommended! 

Gary Tooze

June 22nd, 2015

Also available in North America from Magnolia:

   


 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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