January 27, 2020
An unnecessary English language remake of 2014’s savage marital comedy Force Majeure never manages to rise above the pointlessness of its inception
Downhill review – Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus crash with redundant remake
When it was announced in 2018 that the critically adored Swedish comedy Force Majeure would be remade by Fox, the overwhelming response from anyone who had seen the original was one of quizzical exhaustion. Why just four years after it won the Un Certain Regard jury prize at Cannes do we need to see a more “palatable” English-speaking remix? And is this still where we’re at as an industry and a culture that an arguably perfect film needs to be retouched just because it’s afflicted with subtitles?
There was also something strangely dated about the news, the sort of quickie remake that seems to mercifully happen less these days, a slowing trend that’s the result of a string of flops as well as a wider embrace and respect of international cinema. But what kept Downhill on many a radar regardless was an undeniably impressive roster of talent. Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (making a rare big-screen appearance) would play the leads. Peep Show and Succession’s Jesse Armstrong would co-write the script. And, most importantly, the film would have the blessing of the original’s writer-director Ruben Ostlund. Might there be a reason for retelling this story in a different language that’s bigger than “just because”?
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