This past Friday, I went to a see a film at the Mayfair Theater in Ottawa with some friends. First off, let me say that I adore old school movie theaters. The old squeaky seats, the uncomfortable and sweaty nature of the small box office line up when it gets too crowded, the dimly lit theatre and curtain. The Mayfair is especially sweet with their Shakespearian-like faux-balconies and the archaic iron lamps that line the walls of the auditorium.
I had been shown the preview for Captain Fantastic two days prior, and even the trailer had me close to tears. The full-length film was no exception. Directed and written by Matt Ross, the film stars Viggo Mortensen, who is also known for his role as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. It tells the story of a family who has built a life living in the wilderness and, after the sudden death of their mother; they try to overcome the challenges of death while also struggling with the fact that they’ve only ever lived in such a nomadic state. After sitting comfortably in the homey theater for maybe ten minutes, the lights dimmed, the “feature presentation” slide came onto the projector and everything that had ever happened to me before the film was history. And off we went.
From the beginning, this film was absolutely breathtaking. A wide angled shot gave a birds eye view of a lush forest in complete silence. The next shot broke to a shot in the forest of a deer, and the next of a human camouflaged by mud in the backdrop of green leaves. Instantly there is action as an individual jumps from the depths of the forest to kill the deer with their bare hands. Throughout the film, light breaks are sprinkled throughout the trees, a waterfall, windowpanes.
There are very strong scenes during this film (none of which I want to give away), but the way that the director transitioned from one scene to the next is indescribable. The film is perfectly scored by composer Alex Somers, featuring a collaboration of twinkly sounding music; Yo-Yo Ma’s an “Unaccompanied Cello Suite No. 4 in E-Flat Major BWV 1010 Prélude” and a beautiful rendition of “Sweet Child O Mine” that assists in closing the film beautifully. Each song matched exactly what you would’ve felt if you’d seen the video without music and made me feel as if it was bursting with sunlight. Not only did the film flow attractively, but the acting throughout goes without words. Mortensen plays the patriarchal figure and does a beautiful job in representing the dichotomy of the typical strong and passive father figure. He was an incredibly strong lead and made this movie all the better.
Captain Fantastic inspired me beyond words. The story line mixed with the cinematography, the soundtrack and the acting had me in awe (and trying to be invisible tears). I would suggest that everyone go see this film… I am on my way back already!!