‘CAPTAIN FANTASTIC’ (2016) Movie Review – Not A Superhero Movie

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So it turns out that life after being the King of Gondor didn’t quite turn out as Aragorn had thought it would.

‘Captain Fantastic’ is a Drama that follows a family used to living in isolation, and when tragedy strikes they are forced to venture out into the world and face various challenges they have never experienced. The film is built around many thought-provoking themes and ideas surrounding family, love, education and many others that all give this film so much meaning, and it handles it perfectly. It is a very charming and uplifting story filled with loveable characters and it does get really emotional at times. It is also capped off with ‘fantastic’ performances across the board from everyone including the kids and of course Viggo Mortensen who completely steals the show with a truly captivating performance.

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One thing i love most about this film is the way it approaches having a plot or not having one for that matter. It does have a very basic barebones plot that is eluded to or outlined early on in the film but this truly is a character driven film where the relationships within this family and their emotions and interactions with each other really dictate where the film is going. This works wonders as the film’s plot and the direction it goes in all depends on the emotion of certain characters which makes it very unpredictable and such a pleasure to follow along with. I was constantly surprised by this film, just when i think it’s going one way something truly and unexpectedly amazing happens that throws things in a different direction entirely.

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The family dynamic in this film was incredible to see and it was phenomenally executed throughout the film. I totally believed that this group of kids and this father were really a family and the way the film introduces them was incredibly done. Within 10 minutes you understand what their situation is, what their values are, how they live, what they cherish and just how they are like a single unit that cannot be separated. The performances from the children were exceptional for those with such little acting experience, the emotional drive behind their performance made every scene that much more believable. Annalise Basso (Ouija: Origin of Evil) and George MacKay (11.22.63) were standouts amongst the kids and went up against Viggo Mortensen’s performance really well adding to every scene they interacted in.

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But nothing bad can be said about one of the best performances of Viggo Mortensen’s career as this father who exhibits an incredibly strong amount of love for his children. His performance was so grounded and so perfectly emotional and dramatic that he draws you into every scene and makes you feel exactly what he is going through whilst you are also learning exactly what makes this guy tick. Why he isn’t being featured in more films is a crime as the level of talent he has is too precious to go to waste. The detail that went into this film on behalf of the director was also a nice additional touch. A rendition of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ playing quietly in the background of a supermarket is enough to subtly set the tone for a certain scene without making a large drastic change to the score. I think the only thing i would change about the film is maybe to tighten up some of the tonal and emotional shifts throughout the film. It swapped back and forth a little too freely at times so a little more fine-tuning could have gone a long way.

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But in the end ‘Captain Fantastic’ is a very very good family drama that focuses in on many thoughtful themes and messages without beating you on the head with them. With a phenomenal Viggo Mortensen performance this is a very character driven and family driven film that offers so many surprises that it is definitely one worth checking out.

8.6/10

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