A young Swedish family is taking an expensive ski vacation in the French Alps. While dining at an outside restaurant, a controlled avalanche momentarily seems to threaten their safety. Instinctively, Ebba the mother (Kongsli) reaches out to protect her children. However, father Tomas (Kuhnke) flees, but not without grabbing his phone first. Everyone is safe, but the incident drives an unspoken wedge between the couple, and layers of guilt and acrimony are exposed.
Ostlund’s dark drama forces a reckoning with our conventional ideas about male masculinity and bravery. Even before the crisis, cracks are visible in this marriage, which are subtly evoked by the talented Kuhnke and Kongsli. As shame and anger simmer just below the surface, the arrival of old friends bring these tensions to a head. To the film’s credit, they are allowed to play out naturally without the need for endless dialogue. The silences amid the vast Alpine landscapes speak volumes in this Cannes Film Festival prizewinner.