"The Lost City of Z"
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Running Time: 150 minutes
For his first film set outside of New York City, writer/director James Gray takes us deep into the heart of the uncharted Amazon jungle at the turn of the 20th century. An old-school epic adventure buoyed by career-best performances by Charlie Hunnam and Robert Pattinson, The Lost City of Z chronicles several expeditions by British explorer Percy Fawcett to find an ancient city in Brazil that he believed was home to an advanced civilization. Gracefully adapted by Gray from the non-fiction book by David Grann, The Lost City of Z offers an enthralling study of the cost of obsession. As portrayed by Hunnam, Fawcett’s driven to find the city he dubs “Z” to bring respect to his tarnished family name, to prove his critics wrong, and to prove that the indigenous people of the region aren’t “savages.” But Fawcett’s endeavors require sacrifice: the years exploring the Amazon—both pre- and post-World War I—keep him separated from his wife Nina (an empathetic Sienna Miller, whose sole role is to nurture Fawcett) and his three children. While Nina is supportive of Fawcett’s dream to find Z, his eldest son Jack (new Spider-Man Tom Holland) resents him for being an absent father. The film skillfully juxtaposes Fawcett’s fixation with Z with his relationship with his family, with Nina curbing her own ambitions to accommodate those of her husband and Jack slowly but surely coming to realize the importance of his father’s work. This all culminates in a final act that reveals the strength of the bond between husband and wife and shows how the easing of tensions between father and son has both favorable and tragic consequences. Gray takes an intimate approach to both his subject and his expeditions. He makes us appreciate Fawcett’s dreams and need to explore beyond his reach while refusing to gloss over his flaws. The expeditions are filled with mystery and danger at every turn, but Gray underlines the expeditions into the lush and inviting jungle with the promise of hope and discovery. He treats the indigenous people Fawcett encounter with the respect and curiosity of an explorer. One scene in particular, which involves Fawcett attempting to earn the trust of a tribe of cannibals, encapsulates Fawcett’s willingness to risk life and limb in the search for the unknown. Hunnam’s Fawcett is quiet and controlled—especially when staring death in the face—but the passion that flows though him is always evident but only shown in full force when necessary. Hunnam finds a fine travelling companion in Corporal Henry Costin, whom Robert Pattinson imbues with resolve and commendable loyalty. On the other hand, Angus Macfadyen’s biologist and explorer James Murrary—who joins Fawcett and Costin on one failed expedition—represents the closemindedness and distain of a society with a severe superiority complex. In The Lost City of Z, the Amazon may be filled with peril but it is in the rooms and hallways of London where Fawcett faces his greatest dangers.
Aired: April 20, 2017
Web site: http://www.lostcityofz.com