Captain Fantastic was written and directed by Matt Ross, just like his other three films (two short ones), which he has made so far. In addition, Matt has had numerous roles in various TV series and movies. It can be concluded that he used his great acting and somewhat more modest directing experience to make this exceptional and special film. Of course, fantastic roles played a big role in that exceptionality and uniqueness, first Viggo Mortensen, and then the young teams (as many as six of them) playing his children.
The shop follows the Cash family, led by father Ben, and consists of six other children. They live an atypical life (especially for the USA) in nature or, better said, in harmony with nature. They have their daily routines, from getting up, practicing, learning various skills such as hunting, growing natural food, self-defense, hiking, but also studying various literary works of great writers and thinkers, laws, etc. And while the introductory minutes pass in your amazement, the question slowly develops: Where is the mother? The answer to that question is coming soon, and it will cause a lot of things, to start a great adventure and set many challenges for the family, and even to question its very survival.
Captain Fantastic is that special film in the sea of films determined by the time, standards and tastes of the generation in which they were made. A film that defies time and genre determinants and various other molds, and thus belongs to a rare but selected collection of works for all times. Special, colorful, the one who stands out in the crowd, expresses himself freely and has no fear or shame of his beliefs and the reactions of the environment to the same. This is exactly the story itself as well as those who interpret it.
If I had to compare it to a movie, it would certainly be Little Miss Sunshine, because in that, as well as in this one I’m writing about, we have an unusual, special story and special heroes, who defy a certain order or way of life with their attitudes. its values. That connection is very strong in that sense, and in both cases it gives the label of a rebellious or even hippie film.
The director himself did a great job, in both cases, directing and screenwriting. The whole setting of the film is in terms of the philosophy or life attitude he wanted to convey to us. Thus, the whole film is bathed in bright and strong colors of nature, as well as nature itself and its power that exudes the whole film. The characters also fit into the color, just like some special flowers, which give a special charm to that overall impression of beauty and freedom. Everything looks so simply beautiful, simple, primitive at first glance, and yet when we take a closer look we see that there is perfect order, harmony and harmony between everything that this world creates, as well as great strength and knowledge behind it all. Such is the family we follow.
In contrast, the director gives us, again very skilfully, and yet simply gives the contrast of that world painted in the setting and buildings of the modern world of capitalism, concrete, crowds and complete discord. In some moments it is quite clear, while in others it shows us the smallest details, the appearance of people, their habits, perceptions, lives they lead. However, both worlds function perfectly, somewhere less, somewhere more, framed by their rules and philosophy of life. They function, until the moment they meet, and then there is a collision that brings chaos into their lives. It puts their perceptions to the test, asks questions and draws doubt into everything they believe, and most of all into their own relationships between themselves.
When you, as the creator of the film, manage to convey all this and much more to the viewer, make him think and analyze everything he sees, while half of that analysis somehow comes naturally, caused by everything this film sends, then you can give yourself credit and to say that you have succeeded, and those who watch the film will surely give it to you.
As much as Matt Ross is to blame for this film’s excellence, so is Vigo Mortensen and his small team. Vigo plays a phenomenal role, completely evoking everything that his character simply lives. He so clearly conveys to us his beliefs, love, fears, doubts, successes and failures, virtues and flaws. We see his incredible transformation as a man of certain beliefs. From a solid rock, a relentless leader and a man who has all the answers, we see his entire path, his struggle with the temptations, decisions and choices he faces and must make, as they change because of them. Chaos is coming, there is no answer to everything anymore, he loses control, and he even completely suspects that everything he did and taught those he loves the most was not right. This time, but in a way typical of their age, other family members also pass, and the young team of actors conveys that to us perfectly clearly.