Captain Fantastic (2016) Review

Director: Matt Ross

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Samantha Isler

Disconnected. Viggo Mortensen plays Ben, an oddball father raising 6 kids in the wilderness far away from America’s contemporary consumerist society. The children hunt by day, read works of challenging literature by campfire at night, and celebrate the birthday of Noam Chomsky instead of Christmas. A morally admirable bunch of characters we don’t ever connect with or really care what happens to.

The film begins with the death of the children’s mother who we know nothing about, or the impact she had, if any, on any of her children. Her death and upcoming funeral is a narrative driving force in the film as the gang hits the road in their school bus, but the journey is hard to care about. As in The Road, Viggo must guide his offspring through a wasteland of undesirables, but this journey is far less engaging and one where their troubles are self-inflicted. Ben’s authoritarian and liberal mindset throughout is tiring and confusing.

Rating: 4/10.