James Gray’s takes us on a vividly dreamlike jungle adventure through the Amazonian rain forest in The Lost City of Z. The jungle is a “green desert” where any non-indigenous human is a walking buffet for the mosquitoes, piranhas and cannibals.
Spanning two decades, the action begins in 1906 when Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), an archaeologist and colonel in the Royal Artillery is sent by the Royal Geographical Society to settle a land dispute between Bolivia and Brazil. Fawcett accepts, even though it’s a two-year quest which means leaving behind his wife Nina (Sienna Miller) and their young son (later played as a teenager by Tom Holland) because it gives him a chance to reclaim his damaged family name. He sets off to Bolivia with fellow archaeologist Henry Costin (a heavily bearded Robert Pattinson) and a small party of men.
On the initial voyage, Fawcett stumbles on carvings and remnants of sculptures that convince him of the existence of a ‘Lost City’ somewhere in the Amazon. He returns to England to share his findings – that these south American ‘primates’ beat the British Empire to civilisation – and is one again sent back to the jungle to prove his theory.
Fawcett is played wonderfully by the surprisingly brilliant Hunnam. It’s a role built on complex, not-obviously cinematic and heroic qualities like morality and honour, and Hunnam brings Fawcett to life with exuberance. The Lost City of Z is a solid jungle adventure with a 70’s-feel that’s so profound, it’s an instant classic. Its utterly compelling story is brought to life through its grand scale and arresting visuals, and immediately becomes a film to treasure for years to come.