Captain Fantastic Reviewed By Clayton Barnett

The Premise
In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

The Review
I’m a big Viggo Mortensen fan, his role choices are eclectic and always engrossing– Eastern Promises, Lord of The Rings, The Road to name a few - but Captain Fantastic may just be his best yet.

Writer director Matt Ross may be better recognised as Hooli CEO in the brilliant Silicon Valley but he should have given up the acting lark a long time ago with the talent he shows in only his second feature. Ross doesn’t mess about, winning best director at Cannes this year in the Un Certain Regard section for his masterful work here.

And Ross has done himself all sorts of favours to make this film fantastic, hiring award-winning French cinematographer Stephane Fontaine (A Prophet) and casting the best leading character actor going around. We’ve already got a lot of love for Aragorn down in NZ, the man just adds so much to any part but he’s almost upstaged by the actors playing his six kids. They’re all captivating but the eldest, played by George MacKay (Pride), was a standout and got a lot of laughs from his first close encounter with a city girl. 

The funny eccentric family road tripping in a large vehicle has caused easy comparisons to Little Miss Sunshine, but I feel this movie has a lot more weight - especially social issues that will raise rigorous debate – and a Guns N’Roses cover that is just heartbreakingly beautiful.

Captain Fantastic is a rare treat that will make you laugh heartily and fight back the tears. I found myself trying not to cry but I shouldn’t have worried, as I could hear half the audience sniveling away at the moving finish.

The Verdict
One of the best of the year Captain Fantastic lives up to it’s title, Viggo Mortensen and his brood are outstanding and writer / director Matt Ross is a talent to watch. You’ll be hard pressed not to leave the cinema with a big smile on your face.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 22nd September 2016
Rating: M – Contains Offensive language, nudity, suicide, sexual references & content that may disturb
Duration: 119 minutes 
Genre:  Comedy Drama
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn
Director: Matt Ross (28 Hotel Rooms)

The Extras
At a screening in San Francisco, Matt Ross revealed that over the course of filming, the group of children came to call Viggo Mortensen "Summer Dad".

Filmed in Albuquerque and Las Cruces, New Mexico and Lake Stevens, Washington

Viggo Mortenson's crazy, awesome, red-patterned shirt that he's wearing in the wedding scene of Captain Fantastic is the same shirt he wore 34 years ago in the 1982 Bruce Springsteen music video for the song "Highway Patrolman". In the video, Mortenson plays the bad luck, no good brother of the highway patrolman.

Matt Ross said that experiences with parenting inspired him to make this film.