FILM REVIEW: The Lost City of Z (3 out of 5)
If you come to this film thinking it's going to be all action and Indiana Jones-type excitement you'll be in for a surprise.
Although the main character, British explorer Percy Fawcett, is rumoured to have been the inspiration for Indiana, this is more like the thinking man’s (or woman’s) ‘Raiders...’ movie.
Once again it’s a film based on real events (we seem to have had plenty of these already this year).
Fawcett was an army officer who, due to his late father’s indiscretions with drink and gambling, struggled to further his career in a society where breeding and background counted for everything.
However, in the early 1900s he accepts an offer from the Royal Geographical Society to map an uncharted area of Bolivia and Brazil, disputed by those countries.
And it’s during this trip he finds evidence of an ancient civilisation and the possibility of a magnificent city (which he calls Z).
After enduring fierce local tribes, a multitude of unfriendly wildlife and illness his team returns to England, only to be ridiculed for suggesting that there once were civilised people in the jungle rather than the ‘perceived savages’.
So begins Fawcett’s lifetime search to find his lost city, with various trips to and from the rainforests (with the First World War intervening).
But while this a tale of pursuing a quest it’s also about a man so single minded that he neglects his most precious asset, his family.
Charlie Hunnam plays the lead role and is rather good, although far too young, despite the make-up (Fawcett was nearly 50 when he fought in the Great War).
Sienna Miller is particularly good as his wife and Robert Pattinson sports a wild looking beard in his role as Fawcett’s fellow explorer Henry Costin (although it’s unlikely he would have kept the beard fighting in the trenches!).
There’s plenty to commend this movie and even at 141 minutes didn’t seem to drag.
The rainforest scenes really give you a sense of the hot and humid conditions and the (brief) Flanders fighting is equally well done.
Fawcett’s story is fascinating and its mysterious conclusion still intrigues many people.
There are some changes made from what really happened to tighten up the plot, but this does provide a real flavour of early 20th Century exploration into the unknown.
Film details: The Lost City of Z (15) 141mins
Director: James Gray
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller
Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol