downhill

★★★

DIRECTOR: nat faxon (The way way back)
STARRING: will ferrell, julia louis-dreyfus, miranda otto and zach woods

 

REVIEWER: emily carter

Barely escaping an avalanche during a family ski vacation in the Alps, a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

An American remake of the film Force Majeure by Swedish director, Ruben Östlund, Downhill is promising in parts and a little crumbly in others.

 

Starring Will Ferrell (Pete) and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Billie), Downhill has all the appearances of a killer comedy with a casting combo great enough to get you to the cinema. 

 

Based around a family taking a skiing holiday in the Alps when an almost-avalanche brings about something unexpected - a whole heap of marital tension. As snow tumbled down the mountain, Pete grabs his phone and runs indoors, while Billie wraps her arms around her two sons. Billie is horrified to witness her husband's priorities so plainly, and suddenly her marriage is on the slopes too.

 

With small pockets of laughs and dramatic emotive scenes too, you never quite know whether you're watching an almost-comedy, or an almost-drama. Not quite sure when to laugh, it's a weird place to be. But there's no denying that the two lead actors are masters in what they do. While the script or story line may feel a little lost, Ferrell and Louis-Dreyfus keep you grounded in the good bits.

 

The story dips a toe into some deeper issues surrounding marriage and love before quickly retreating into some gentle comedy. While a little frustrating, it definitely kept the conversation going after the credits rolled. Was she right? Was he? What would you do? Perhaps Downhill was more about sparking something than really lighting the whole fire.

 

Keep an eye out for some great minor characters in Zach, Rosie and Charlotte, but try and focus on the acting chops of the two major stars. They'll keep you afloat when things get murky with the story.

 

While not quite sure what it wants to be, Downhill has the cast to pique your interest and the gaps to get you thinking.

★★★

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