DOWNHILL

★★

A SLIPPERY SLOPE FOR JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS AND WILL FERRELL

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Charlie David Page
3rd February 2020

Have you ever watched an English language movie that was adapted from a foreign film and felt incredibly disappointed by the experience? I think we all have - with Hollywood always desperate for the next new box office success, of course they would look to other cinematic successes for inspiration... even if all too often, they fall short of the original. Featuring a cast with a solid track record in comedy, does 'Downhill' manage to avoid this trap?

Pete (Will Ferrell, 'Daddy's Home' series, 'Anchorman' series) and Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, TV's 'Seinfeld' and 'Veep') are on a family ski holiday with their two young sons. When a controlled avalanche comes a little too close to call and Pete chooses to save himself rather than stay with his family, tensions arise between the couple. As they drift further apart, the time alone allows them to learn a little something about themselves.

SWITCH: 'DOWNHILL' TRAILER

'Downhill' is a Hollywood adaptation of the 2014 Ruben Östlund film 'Force Majeure', which was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA. It's safe to say that 'Downhill' will not be. It's a rudimentary transition to an English language version which takes the same elements as the original, yet fails to inject the dark humour that made Östlund's film so wildly entertaining; the originals success is most certainly lost in translation. Barely summoning more than a snicker, 'Downhill' is left largely dry and dull. The tension is sorely lacking, and it leaves the storyline feeling uneventfully flat.

It's incredibly disappointing, given the cast at hand. Louis-Dreyfus is wonderful as ever, and provides the most emotional elements to the film, but this is in no way a stretch for her - it's a character she's played many a time before. Ferrell usually excels in his straighter comedic roles when he's not resorting to hamming it up, and with stronger material and a more in-depth character could have been quite excellent. The real surprise, however, is Miranda Otto ('The Lord Of The Rings' trilogy, 'War of the Worlds') as the sexually liberated staff member Charlotte - the absurdity and oddness that she brings to the film could brighten even the darkest crevasse.

'Downhill' is a Hollywood adaptation of the 2014 Ruben Östlund film 'Force Majeure', which was nominated for a Golden Globe and BAFTA. It's safe to say that 'Downhill' will not be.

Altogether forgettable, 'Downhill' is an avalanche of its own - starting off more than a little rocky, it accelerates towards its destination as it wipes out everything in its path, whitewashing what was there beforehand. This is an adaptation not only unworthy of the original, but unworthy of the cast it enlisted. Just go hunt down 'Force Majeure'.

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