Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), wife and the whole clan of six kids live in middle of nowhere North Country. They raise the kids to be “philosopher kings” away from modern life complications and its salty fat deliciousness. Unfortunately, mom struggles with post-partum psychosis then bipolar disorder and, eventually, kills herself while seeking mental health care. Grandpa says “don’t come to the funeral or I’ll arrest you because this is all your fault” to our dad. They ignore that advice and we’re off on Steve, the bus, to New Mexico.
Sounds fun, right? It’s not. Why is everything trying so hard to be to so Indie this year? Fantastic is compelling to look at (at times) with firelight and large landscapes – including the full frontal Viggo – and a fascinating study of a man unraveling as his family falls apart, but there are major holes here that are not filled.
We barely learn all the kids names or why they stop at her sister’s place on the way to the funeral except to create conflict and introduce the clan to video games. Two siblings are so poorly developed as a characters, I was only sure they were still in the movie because I kept seeing two redheads and two blonde ones.
Verdict: Depends entirely if you want the full Monty from Viggo. If so, see it through Redbox or VOD. Otherwise, meh.
Note: I swear this awards season is all about the depressing.