Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Captain Fantastic


This one is bound to make you think. Viggo Mortensen and his wife are old hippies who have been raising six children out in the forest. They learn to kill a deer with a bow and arrow and butcher it. They learn other survival skills. It’s all sort of like a boot camp, and it looks brutal. But the kids seem to like it. And Viggo is not really a survivalist nut, though he sometimes looks like it. He and his wife just don’t think the kids will learn much in the fucked-up institutions we call schools. And they’re right. Boy, are they right.

But the mother is bi-polar, and she eventually kills herself. Now they have to travel to her home and convince her father to honor her wishes, which is to be cremated and flushed down a toilet. Returning to the earth, you see. Naturally, this doesn’t go down well with Granddad, played by Frank Langella.

It forces you to reflect on some things. The kids are phenomenal. They are horrified by what passes for food in this culture. They speak several languages, and are knowledgeable in a great many subjects. That they are getting a good education, as well as learning discipline and survival skills, is demonstrated when they encounter two of their cousins, great bumbling oafs who are glued to their iPhones and don’t know shit from a shoeshine. The difference was glaring. But Dad’s methods and most of all his isolating them from the larger society has its price, too. Some of the kids rebel, and want to stay with Granddad. In the end a compromise is reached that seems to leave everyone relatively happy. I really enjoyed this one.