The Lost City of Z

Based on the best-selling non-fiction book written by David Grann in 2009, The Lost City of Z is a beautifully crafted film in the great tradition of the Hollywood epics, complete with gorgeous panoramic cinematography and detailed adventurous storytelling. It tells the true story of British Colonel Percy Fawcett, played terrifically by Charlie Hunnam, who is a early 20th century explorer and led expeditions to Amazonian South America and ended up obsessed with discovering a lost city. He was first recruited by the British Royal Geographic Society to help survey the Bolivian frontier to settle a border dispute with Brazil and, while on the arduous months-long journey, he heard and saw evidence of a long lost civilization in the middle of Amazonia. He is also accompanied on most of the expeditions by a fellow explorer and close confidante, a British corporal played by Robert Pattinson. Returning home for a while to his wife, played by Sienna Miller, and his two young children, he eventually decides to embark on yet another adventure back to the jungle to find what he calls the lost city of Z. However, things do not turn out well after taking one of his investor explorers and running into unwelcoming indigenous tribes on the especially challenging trip. His almost fanatical quest is interrupted by World War I when he is sent to the front lines in France and where he witnesses the horrors of war alongside a number of his expeditionary companions. In 1925, he sets out on his final mission with his son Jack and a much smaller group, but the expedition comes to a mysterious end that has yet to be solved. Besides reminding me of such classic epics as 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia, the film’s dark and mysterious atmosphere of adventuring into the dangerous unknown is reminiscent of 1979’s Apocalypse Now. Like in Apocalypse Now, the protagonist is a complicated character who is close to descending into madness deep in the jungle and surrounded by unsuspecting natives, some of whom are primitive cannibals. Overall, I thought the filmmaker did an excellent job of recapturing the epic adventure genre and creating a thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating cinematic experience.

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