Captain Fantastic Review by Andrea Tundo

Captain Fantastic

Director: Matt Ross

rating: 4 stars out of 5


Educated and wild (but not as Marlon Brando in the wild one) the film’s main characters, a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his sons have now abandoned the civilization since 10 years to live in contact and harmony with nature, in a situation that could be called in a field between hippie and Théréau.

Teens studying constantly and training reach on athlete’s mental and physical levels, they memorized the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Eliot and Brothers Karamazov read, hunt, they know edible plants, climb mountains, know how to cure cuts and much more. As in any story an element enter which will mess up their balances and will force them to come into contact with modern society. Captain Fantastic is a film that makes you think, questioning ourselves and everything around us, the film’s purpose is certainly not to convince us that the right thing to do is go to revel in the forests, but to open the doors of the mind to a thought, which can sprout in an idea that could become action, shake off the laziness of a world of ease and of vices, ask continued questions on how we live (it is really that weird to respond to his own son of 8 years with the truth) on what we consider right and wrong (such as why we celebrate Christmas instead of the feast of Noam Chomsky?)

Ross (Director) highlights the stupid rules that dictate our behavior, and beliefs (like how to educate their children) which have no basis that limit our society and in my opinion I believe this goes also beyond its intent, since over the course of the film seems to want to give only a quizzical tone towards  a “normal” society rather than a universal comparison on the way of understanding life.

The camera alternates between stunning scenery to engraved passages where scrutinizes the faces, trembles, spends away showing us how the family lived, in some cases the two  things are mixed as in the scene of cremation, which reminds me a little of “Kusturica“ if he shot the his films with hippies and not with the Gypsies (but the comparison is over exaggerated way). Viggo Mortensen is outstanding in a part that seems made for him, severe authoritarian bluntly but also sweet and loving.

The film was premiered at the Sundance film festival and won the prize for Best Director at the Cannes film festival in 2016

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