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Captain Fantastic

Opening Date
14 Jul 2016
M18 Some Nudity and Coarse Language
119 mins
English with no subtitles
Matt Ross
Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn
Deep in the forests of the Pacific Northwest, isolated from society, a devoted father (Viggo Mortensen) dedicates his life to transforming his six young children into extraordinary adults. But when a tragedy strikes the family, they are forced to leave this self-created paradise and begin a journey into the outside world that challenges his idea of what it means to be a parent and brings into question everything he's taught them.
By Jason Lin  12 Jul 2016
Albeit a painful film to digest, Captain Fantastic is a celebration of life and humanity at its core through a focused perspective of an unconventional family that unravels our conventional world.
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Parents are well known to go the extra mile without hesitation for their children. Such parental love comes in various forms in today’s society, which is also observed in the different parenting styles.
Director and screenwriter Matt Ross brings a tale of a free-spirited father of six Ben Cash (Viggo Mortensen), which scored a nomination for the Un Certain Regard Award and also won Ross the Un Certain Regard – Directing Prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
From an actor who has turned to pen and direct, Captain Fantastic is a brilliant film of strong performance observed several characters. Mortensen has found a comfortable niche persona to portray – a perfect blend of delicate freedom and vigorous austerity.
Living in the wilderness so remotely detached from civilisation, Father Cash subjects his six children Bodevan (George MacKay), Kielyr (Samantha Isler), Vespyr (Annalise Basso), Rellian (Nicholas Hamilton), Zaja (Shree Crooks), and Nai (Charlie Shotwell) to a strict physical fitness and survival-training regime every single morning.
From hunting for game meat to sparring practice with knives, it is hard to comprehend how any parent will even allow of these in a contemporary family. The mere sight of how all six children are tasked to negotiate steep and dangerous climbs up a rugged mountain in a sequence simply astonishes the audience.
This life would simply have continued undisrupted – if not for the sudden demise of their mother Leslie (Trin Miller) who attempted suicide. Herewith begins the interesting journey of how the Cash family adapts to civilisation.
Mistaking Nike for the ancient Greek Goddess of Victory and clarifying the astronomy of Star Trek, these are scenarios that reflect the six siblings’ lack of social skillsets. Beyond their unorthodox mindset, these children are otherwise very well versed in general knowledge.
Captain Fantastic is not trying to critique the Cash family’s philosophical mindset and approach towards life. Instead it hopes to impose upon all to try and embrace differences – even if one does not comprehend them. This is where the film encourages all to take a different perspective to view life.
The very reason why Captain Fantastic may prove to be challenging for most viewers to sit through is because the film is told from the Cash family’s point of view. Ross’ directorial excellence in this film resides within his telling of the story from the Cash family’s perspective.
Denouncing Capitalism and Christmas, one ponders if it is really possible to live within a family detached from society. As some of the children grow up, logic will soon prompt them to question things in life. Bodevian’s SAT scores attracted admission letters from several top universities – can his father provide him a doctorate degree and teach him rocket science? Rellian silently blames his father for removing their mother from their lives.
Albeit a painful film to digest, Captain Fantastic is a celebration of life and humanity at its core through a focused perspective of an unconventional family that unravels our conventional world.
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