Theatrical Reviews

Downhill Review

Downhill 1

Studio:
Walt Disney Pictures

What’s It About? 
Based on the Swedish Force Majeure, Downhill sees a family of four venture on a skiing holiday. But when the dad abandons the family during an avalanche, the family structure is profoundly shaken, leaving cracks in the relationship.   

Who’s In It?
Will Ferrell (Anchorman, Blades Of Glory, & more recently Holmes & Watson)
Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Seinfeld, Veep & more recently Enough Said)  

Other notables include:
Zach Woods (The Office, Silicon Valley, & more recently Avenue 5)   

Director: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (The Way Way Back, Community)   

Audiences Expect:
For those who find subtitled films too tiresome to watch, then your luck is in, you lazy people, for classic Swedish black comedy Force Majeure has been Hollywood-ised. And it comes with some pretty great pedigree too, with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash in the directors’ chairs, and comedy royalty in the form of Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the lead roles.
The film follows the same basic plot, which involves a family of four hitting the ski slopes for a vacation. Unfortunately well-meaning dad Pete has screwed up, and instead of finding accommodation in the family-friendly section, he has picked the party zone. But things are about to get far worse for him... 
During an alpine lunch, an avalanche is triggered, and in the melee, Pete ditches the family, and makes a run for it – only to return later once things are safe. Nothing is said, for several days in fact, but eventually his wife Billie loses her shit and their relationship hits the rocks following his selfish actions.
Less subtle than the original Swedish version, the story is still in very same hands with Faxon and Rash in control, and Peep Show & Succession writer Jesse Armstrong pitching in. 
Will Ferrell (at times edging towards his classic Frank The Tank character) and particularly Julia Louis-Dreyfus excel in this dark comedy of a marriage hitting the skids, while work colleague Zach Woods is always engaging, partaking in one of the most awkward scenes of all time.
In truth Downhill has a pretty short run time, and if anything, there is not enough screen time given to the sublime Dreyfus, while there is an over-the-top character played by Miranda Otto.   

In A Nutshell:
Although there was no need for a remake, Will Ferrell & Julia Louis-Dreyfus deliver a fine dark comedy.     

Highlight:
The leads especially Julia Louis-Dreyfus   

Lowpoint:
Miranda Otto’s OTT character 

 

Certificate: 15

EDITOR’S CHOICE