CAPTAIN FANTASTIC

★★★★

A NEW KIND OF HERO

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
4th September 2016

If you find yourself staring at movie times from this Thursday wondering if 'Captain Fantastic' is Marvel or DC - fear not, he's neither. He may not have a cape or special powers but he has a noble cause and cares about the world, enough to try and change it, one child at a time.

Ben (Viggo Mortensen) and his six children life in a Pacific Northwest forest, off the grid. The kids hunt wild game for food, learn to set their own broken bones, at night read Shakespeare and Trotsky, and celebrate Noam Chomsky’s birthday instead of Christmas. While Ben has managed to raise six highly intelligent and capable children, they remain unfamiliar with society at large and anything that cannot be learned from a book. When tragedy strikes, the family must leave the comfort of their home and face the real world and all its complexities, challenging the life they know and what it’s all for.

SWITCH: 'CAPTAIN FANTASTIC' TRAILER

There’s not a "chickabee" to be heard in Matt Ross’ follow-up to 2012’s ’28 Hotel Rooms’. Instead, Ross has filled his script with intelligent dialogue performed by a wealth of eloquent young actors led by British George MacKay (‘Pride’). Mortensen’s natural strength and spiritualness shines as the patriarch to this unorthodox family. All the emotional ebbs and flows of the films events are beautifully actualised and never assumed or glossed over. While some may criticise the film’s sentimentality as predictable for an independent, it’s actually a strength - not only of the film itself but by Ross, as he hasn’t undercut the emotional journey of the characters nor the audience.

For a sophomore effort, writer/director Matt Ross has demonstrated an incredible maturity and a unique view of the world that's exciting to watch, and I eagerly anticipate his next move.

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