The Lost City of Z

Director: James Gray
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson & Sienna Miller
Synopsis: A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.
Rating: 15 Duration: 140 minutes Release date: 24 July (UK)

The issue that many true stories face when they are adapted for the big screen is that they can be very dull. That particular fate befalls The Lost City of Z and what should be a film full of adventure and daring is instead a drab affair lacking excitement or thrills.

The story of Percy Fawcett’s (Hunnam) exploration of the Amazon basin is as interesting as it is important and proves a story worth telling on the big screen. Battling both his fellow man and the scientific elite of the Royal Geographical Society, Fawcett returns to the jungle on several occasions in order to find the fateful lost city and to restore his family name to the prestige it once had. It’s a very noble story and one that in the right hands would be a grand cinematic piece, unfortunately The Lost City of Z captivates only in its cinematography. A truly wonderful film to look at, but failing to capture the audience in any sort of stimulating way means it all passes by in all too sedate manner.

Charlie Hunnam’s Fawcett is an interesting character to portray, but Hunnam struggles with some of the meatier parts of the film. Hunnam, talented as he is, is dealt a blow by a film that swaps fun for solemn and a script that feels more like walking through mud after seven pints on a Friday night. It would be unfair to say any of this is Hunnams fault and what he does is deliver a strong performance with the right dash of charisma making more of the role than was perhaps granted to him at first. Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin, proves a worthy aid to both Hunnam and Fawcett and his understated performance is a blessing in an otherwise barren film.

Director James Gray has shown previous for this type of film in his other efforts, in particular The Yards and We Own the Night. Both those films, much like The Lost City of Z, have cast strong male leads with more than their fair share of faults but have also been monotonous efforts. There are interesting ideas threatening to breakout here and one considers Gray to be a fan of patient build-up, but Gray stretches things to the limit with a run time nearing two and a half hours. Maybe I protest too much and a film such as this deserves the time to tell a story so elegant, but the argument can easily be made that a little more artistic license would have resulted in a far more entertaining film, instead of the Wikipedia dry narration we are force-fed here.

Special features:

  • Behind the scenes
  • Interviews with James Gray and Sienna Miller
  • Percy Fawcett featurette

Film: 2/5
Extras: 1/5


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