Thursday, February 13, 2020

Review: Downhill

Release date: February 14, 2020
Running time:  86 minutes
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Will Ferrell, Miranda Otto

Downhill is the 2020 remake of the 2014 Swedish Film "Force Majeure" where we follow Billie (Louis-Dreyfus) and Pete Staunton (Ferrell) as they embark on a family vacation with their two sons to an Austrian ski resort.  But during this family vacation, a reaction to an avalanche puts their marriage to the ultimate test as each questions the other's choices, the protection of their family, and their feelings for one another. 

Will Ferrell has a pretty recognizable type of over the top humor, but in this movie it was turned down a notch.  Thankfully, although his humor was muted, his facial expressions and mannerisms were not.  It was nice to see his character here to add some diversity to his roles.  It is also worth noting that Will Ferrell and Julia Louise-Dreyfus have good on-screen chemistry.  In fact both of them did excellent jobs in their roles: they were able to capture the emotional turmoil that they were going through in a believable manner, which helps the audience empathize with what they are going through.  

This dark comedy has a good amount of humor and laughs, however it is tough for me to see what the target audience of this is given its Valentine's release date.  It is not a traditional date movie, and although the dialogue and scenarios are realistic, it is tough to get invested in these characters.  The beautiful shots of Austrian mountains are a huge plus for anyone who loves seeing beautiful scenery, but those views are put against a dark comedy and plenty of awkward tension.  Additionally, the story seems to swirl downhill only to lead to a far too convenient conclusion, hurting my overall enjoyment of the film.  I would have liked for them to fully explore some of the themes, rather than tying up this relatively short movie. 

Considering a very competitive opening holiday weekend, this movie might have to wait till you reach the bottom of the slope for you to view.  Downhill has interesting roles for its two stars set against a realistic story and beautiful scenery for this relationship dark comedy.  

Rent It

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