"sweeping epic which sheds light on a fascinating real-life story"
The Lost City of Z is a sweeping epic which sheds light on a fascinating real-life story about one man’s quest to find a mysterious city in the Amazon. The Lost City of Z is based on the 2009 non-fiction book by David Grann, which was optioned shortly after its release but it took many years for it to actually get into production and onto the screen.
It’s easy to understand why it took so long to be developed because it inherently has a troublesome ending. It is about a real-life military man-turned-explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) who mysteriously disappeared while trying to find a lost city in the Amazon in 1925. There have been many rumours about his disappearance but nothing has been verified, meaning the film has to be vague and ambiguous about it, which puts a frustrating end on an otherwise fascinating story.
The film begins with Fawcett being asked to go to Bolivia to help map the area because there is tensions arising between Bolivia and Brazil over the border. He leaves his wife Nina (Sienna Miller) and their son Jack to go on the trip with men including Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and Arthur Manley (Edward Ashley). While there, he finds artefacts of a lost city but he is scoffed at when he returns to Britain.
The trio return to the Amazon with James Murray (Angus Macfayden) to find the city but after that is unsuccessful, he is recruited to fight in the war, and it’s not until some years later when his oldest son Jack (now Tom Holland) encourages him to go and fulfil his dream. They both head out to the Amazon and never return.
The film is very loyal to the real story which means it’s very open-ended. There are no answers so it has to be vague, which just means you leave feeling a bit short-changed. You’ve invested your time into this person and his pursuit of this city and it’s disheartening there is no clear resolution and we’ll never know what happened to him.
The film looks glorious and the jungle setting makes it exciting. The first two expeditions were gripping but the surrounding scenes with his family and different geographical authorities could have been cut knowing how long the film runs for, although they were pleasant enough at the time. It moves along at a slow pace but this isn’t an issue during those two trips, it only really becomes a problem when we hit the war portion, which was too long, and by the time we get to the third expedition, you’re spent and ready for it to be over. It needed serious trimming and tightening so the end had more impact.
The Lost City of Z is a sweeping epic which sheds light on a fascinating real-life story about one man’s quest to find a mysterious city in the Amazon. Hunnam is captivating in the role, Miller puts in an impressive performance and Pattinson is quite unrecognisable as Fawcett’s bearded companion. It’s just a shame about the ending and the pace.