Published on February 14th, 2020 | by Angele Colageo0
Downhill is the American remake of the 2014 Scandinavian film Force Majeure (Turist, Original title). The title is a legal phrase in situations of unforeseeable circumstances that prevent someone from fulfilling a contract. Pete (Will Ferrell), had lost his father 8 months prior and is still mourning the loss and his Wife a Lawyer, Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) are taking a family ski vacation in the Alps. They are parents to two pre-teen boys and have booked their stay in a resort that is not family friendly.
Their vacation takes an awkward turn when the family encounter an avalanche while having lunch at a chalet outdoors. This is where Pete commits the Force Majeure by running away in self-preservation instead of ensuring his family’s safety. This premise is what affects the dynamics throughout the film.
The American remake seems to be lacking in depth compared to the original film. This iteration seems to capture the frosty background to echo the family disjointed by the father’s selfish action. Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are extraordinary comedic actors that know how to play the lines for laughs. The story seems to lack in humor and development. It seems that the script got lost in translation when this version was created.
The premise is based on how the father’s selfish action of running away to save himself has created a fissure between him and his wife as well as both of his sons. They then feel abandoned by him at the moment where they thought that they would have died. The storyline is missing the depth of loss that the father feels as well as the awkward disappointment that comes with his giant misstep.
Naming the movie “Downhill” is misleading because it’s not about skiing. Yes, it is set in a ski resort, but it is the father’s error in judgement that is the betrayal to the family unit. It lessens his position in the family as the protector which in turn changes Billie’s view towards him as her spouse. She looks at Pete as less masculine since he dropped the ball.
The best scenes of the films are the ones where Charlotte (Miranda Otto) the resort manager come in to add to the awkward of the family. She does steal the scenes and brings in such a large character that easily outshines the two.
When you have two of comedy’s finest, who can deliver humor with subtlety and poignancy, one should provide them with enough of a story and direction to allow them to shine. This movie is a very dull effort. Watch the original instead. I want my two hours back. Oh wait, the movie is an hour and a half long.
2 stars out of 5