Posted Mar 27 2017

The Lost City Of Z - This Movie Certainly Rocks The ZZZZZs

Dir: James Gray

Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Franco Nero, Ian McDiarmid, Angus Macfadyen

The story of early 20th century explorer Percy Fawcett is a story of a man of passion, obsession even. As played by the normally reliable Charlie Hunnam, Fawcett is presented as a man of staid monotone, listless and unprepossessing in just about every way. Far from inspired or inspiring – which unfortunately can also be said for Gray’s jungle folly.

During the course of the movie (which manages to feel noticeably longer than it is – and it’s already noticeably long), Fawcett and his cohorts (initially Pattinson with hipster beard, latterly Holland with hipster ’tache) go on three expeditions – the first succeeds, the second fails and the third – well, it just sort of peters out into a distinctly fudged ending. In between, Fawcett returns home to the missus Miller, on each occasion finding he has fathered yet another offspring (I hope he’s keeping track of the dates!) Oh, and in between they all go off to World War I and listen to the mad ramblings of a medium straight out of central casting – many years ago.

It all comes across as an exercise of non-dynamic tosh, borderline somnambulant tosh to be accurate. Hunnam’s delivery throughout is so reserved that if Bolivia had an effective phone service at the time he may as well have made use of it. Miller does her best with a thankless task, and Pattinson seems more concerned with hiding behind his beard that finding the man behind said facial furniture.

Gray tries to impose contemporary concerns on his period piece – Miller speaking up for women’s rights, the general empowerment of the once labelled “savages” – but it rarely rings true, just feels added on, almost afterthought-wise.

The Lost City of Z had the option to be a rousing historical adventure, a story of man’s desire to explore the unknown. Instead it opts for a dull and rather turgid journey up river to more or less nowhere.


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