Film Reviews

Lost City Of Z (2016)

lost city of z.jpg

Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland

Director: James Gray

Based on a true story, Lost City Of Z is the story of an explorer convinced that he knows how to find the city he calls Z, located deep in the Amazon, which is an El Dorado, a city of gold and riches. Percival Fawcett (Hunnam) is joined by Henry Costin (Pattinson) on his adventures, which meet with sneers and derision. The lost city is his obsession, and it’s all all costs that he must find it, at least in his own mind, at the expense of his wife (Miller) and sons, who must either learn to live without a father or go with him on his adventures when they’re grown.

I normally like a historical jungle expedition, with pith helmets and determined mad man bent on treasure and fame. And with the director of 12 Years A Slave at the helm, you expect some historical accuracy, tragedy and a great story. But for some reason it just doesn’t gel. The story isn’t really the descent into the jungle you’d expect, it’s a long lead in with Fawcett’s backstory and how he comes to hear about the whole city of Z thing, and then it goes into his marriage problems and his need for finance before he gets going. It is all interesting, and quite beautiful too, though I for one am bored of historical figures saying racist things. Like, yes, we know they were racist back then. Or sexist. Or whatever. We get it. They sucked, we’re enlightened. Most of the time. ha ha… You see the problem don’t you? It’s a film about trying to find a fabled city but most of the film is about other things.

The performances are quite good, Miller is once again sidelined as someone’s wife, but they all put in a good turn, and the locations are quite stunning. I’d say this one isn’t for everyone, but there is always something nice about a true story.

See It If: one for the history buffs really, since it’s all historical accuracy and not adventure and jungle. But it’s an interesting piece of history.


20 thoughts on “Lost City Of Z (2016)”

  1. Really loved this movie and the ambience is creates. The way you write is absoluely remarkable. You really get movies. History with a bit of adventure combined is really nice. Have you seen DUNKIRK yet?


  2. I recently watched this one and I felt it was more of a “Lost art of script writing”. Usually the lost expeditions are suppose to unfold with time. We get to know the place, the people who are journeying and other scary details but what we got was paced expeditions. The trips were expedited in such a small screen time. It was like packing 3 movies in 1. It was all over the place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, I still haven’t seen the film but I’m going to go right ahead and assume the book doesn’t parallele the author’s search for Fawcett’s story with Fawcett’s search for Z, which helps give it a sense of climax, as Fawcett may have failed, but Z was ultimately found. It’s a very tragic and tough story, not just in Fawcett’s uncompromising obsession but also in the death-toll and suffering which resulted from the era’s quest for discovery. The things done to the natives (not endorsed or done by Fawcett) are also unpleasant, in their callowness, search for money or just their ease. And there’s no easy way to transition back out of this but… it is a very good book, and very interesting. (For example, did you know that when cars were first introduced to London, a law was passed saying they couldn’t go at more than 2 miles per hour and had to have someone walking in front of it waving a read flag?!!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How interesting… I’m tempted to read it myself! Yes, I did know that about cars. It’s still the law in London that pedestrians have right of way on cobbled streets. Funny place.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Please do. Then you can tell me how they compare. Otherwise I will be forced to watch it myself and that’s effort 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’d still like to hear your thoughts, but having now seen the film, here are mine.
        The film doesn’t really do the book or the story justice. Charlie Humman’s monotone performance completely fails to convey the personality of a man who was driven, ahead of his time, adventurous and brave but also hard, obsessive, of his time and sometimes cruel. It doesn’t convey the horrors of the jungle, the reasoning for his beliefs (“I’ve found some pottery. El Dorado is real!”, “You think we should go, son? Okay, sounds good.”) or his real motives (it shows him uninterested in exploration at first, which is untrue, it says he was obsessed with getting out of his fathers shadow, which i don’t remember coming up once in the book, and it shows him reluctant to go back, which is the opposite of what happened). It simplifies his attitude to the natives and the racism of the times. Only one character, Jack, seems to age significantly over the course of thirty years. Although I can kind of understand combining characters, it also cuts out the third English man who disappeared on their last journey completely (!!!). Above all, it just doesn’t really build up to anything, which doesn’t just let down the story but also the basic mechanics of story telling. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. The book is definitely better. (Let me know if you get a chance to read it)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I nearly fell asleep while watching this movie. I agree with the performances being good, but the story just kind of went all over the place. Too many aspects were introduced, and the moving back and forth between jungle, back home again and even world war I just got on my nerves. I also usually love historical movies, especially when it deals with lost expeditions, but in the end this one just didn’t do it for me. Real shame, as I expected quite a lot for this film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg! I know…. all over the place, and so dull. The story is actually interesting but the movie isn’t! I’m with you, I love a true adventure story in the jungle, but this just didn’t deliver

      Liked by 1 person

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