Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDiarmid, Franco Nero
Director: James Gray
What’s Good: Excellent camera work, measured acting
What’s Bad: Poor editing
Loo Break: One or two
Watch or Not?: I wouldn’t say it’s a must watch, but you can go for it if you want
The film is based on the non-fiction book ‘The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon’ by American author David Grann.
Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), a major in the British Army is sent on a mission by the Royal Geographical Society of London to Amazonia. There is a dispute between the governments of Brazil and Bolivia over their mutual boundary and they want the British government to survey the area. Fawcett and his team set off for uncharted eastern Bolivia and en route they meet Corporal Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson), who has a good knowledge of the Amazonian rainforest and joins them.
Portuguese nobleman Baron de Gondoriz, who owns a large rubber plantation in the jungles, offers his slave Tadjui to Fawcett as a guide. But it is not an easy journey— there are venomous snakes, piranhas, cannibal tribes, diseases, starving and more. Although Tadjui tells Fawcett about a hidden civilization in Amazonia, which is full of gold, but the latter refuses to believe him. However, very soon he comes across some relics, which confirm that Tadjui’s words were not imaginary!
After returning to England, Fawcett is praised for his survey work but finds it difficult to convince the members of the RGS about the existence of the ancient civilization, which he calls ‘Z— The Ultimate piece of the human puzzle’. Fawcett takes it as a challenge to prove the existence of Z to the entire world and sets off to explore it. Meanwhile World War I breaks out. Will Fawcett be able to discover Z? Will he stay alive?
The Lost City of Z Review: Script Analysis
Women have always been considered as the ones, who would reproduce and look after a man’s household. No matter how much advancement the western civilization boasts of in various fields, women (even educated ones) over there too, were confined to the four walls of her home under the strict surveillance of the male-dominated society. And hence, when Nina Fawcett (Sienna Miller) begs her husband Percy to take her to the Amazonian rainforest with him, he immediately rejects the proposal reminding her of her ‘duties’ as a woman! But Nina is an extremely brave woman, who supports her husband despite knowing that it would mean staying away from him and her son for years or perhaps the rest of her life.
The film highlights the arrogance of the white men in the early 20th century and the most shameful aspect of human history ever— slavery.
However, the best part of the script is that it highlights, man’s never ending thirst to know the unknown, to explore new places and of course to unearth our past. This is beautifully reflected in Percy Fawcett’s character, which has to make a tough choice between his family and his life in the Amazonian jungles, where there is uncertainty and the fear of death at every step. He chooses the latter because he firmly believes that the hidden civilization ‘may well write a whole new chapter in human history’.
The Lost City of Z Review: Star Performance
Charlie Hunnam is not just extremely good looking but pulls off a measured and underrated performance.
Robert Pattinson’s horde of female fans would either be disappointed by his aged look or find him cute. Pattinson looks unrecognizable in the film, the credit for which goes to his makeup artist. He impresses in the role of Corporal Henry Costin.
Angus Macfadyen grabs eyeballs in a small negative role.
Sienna Miller is highly impressive. Her expressions brilliantly convey Nina Fawcett’s inner battles as a woman, as a mother and a wife. Her costumes are also apt for the time period in which the film is set. She is my favourite from the film.
The Lost City of Z Review: Direction, Music
The film starts with a good pace but loses it towards the end of the first half. What the 2 hrs 23 minutes long film needed was good editing. There are many redundant scenes, which makes it a bit boring at times and could be easily chopped off.
The period drama beautifully portrays the early 20th century with flawless makeup and costumes.
James Gray’s focus on detailing is commendable! The way he captures, every minute detail of the Amazonian rainforest deserves mention. Darius Khondji is outstanding with the camera and fascinates the viewer again and again during the film.
What is the best part of this film is that, despite being inspired by a true story, it doesn’t unnecessarily glorify Fawcett’s character and points out his flaws as and when required.
The Lost City of Z Review: The Last Word
While more or less all ingredients seem to be there, some spices are missing from the recipe which stops me from calling it flawless. Good editing is surely one of them. However, if you love jungles, you will surely enjoy the director’s detailing on the Amazonian rainforest.
The film makes us think, what would happen if explorers across the globe would never set off for an expedition fearing separation from their family?
I would give it 3 stars.
The Lost City of Z Trailer
The Lost City of Z releases on 26th May, 2017.
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