Script: James Gray
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller
Setting: 1920s, Amazon
Rated : 7 Stars
A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.
Sometimes when you describe a film or a book as “interesting” you really mean that you didn’t like it but don’t really want to say that. In this case that is not what I mean at all when I say that The Lost City of Z is a really interesting story. It is based on the true life story of Percival Fawcett who became obsessed with finding a lost civilisation in the Amazon. He believed that it would rewrite the story of humanity, and prove to his contemporaries that Amazonia was much more than a “green desert” populated by savages.
Unfortunately the film never really lifts itself above interesting and into fascinating. It just lacks that little touch of magic to really bring the story to life, which is a pity as there is a lot to like and enjoy here.
I thought that the relationship between Percival Fawcett and his wife was great, and I would have liked to see more of her. Sienna Miller, who plays Nina Fawcett, does a lot with very little screen time. She is the one left at home, abandoned for much of her life. Everytime her husband does return she seems to end up with another child to take care of and raise without Percy. He says that everything he does is for his family, but is it?
I also liked the fact that Percy has some recognition of the fact that European society is not the only one worth valuing. He is a product of his times but is not so bound by that that he does not see that to dismiss an entire people as savages does them a great disservice. He is also anti-slavery, and in some respects, argues for equality between the sexes. Although when forced to confront the reality of this so called “equality” he does step back and say that they are not equal in body and that men and women have played their roles in family and society for hundreds of years and should continue to do so.
I would, however, have liked to have more from the Amazon tribes themselves. But this isn’t trying to tell that story, it is solely focused on Fawcett and his explorations, his obsession.1 And the film itself feels a bit long and almost episodic. He does this, then that, then the other. But I’m not sure what I’d leave out to tighten it up a bit. Also there are gaps in the events, meaning that the audience has to make the leap without seeing everything that is going on.
It is far from a perfect film, but it is an interesting one, and I’d certainly be interested in reading the book that this was based on.
so yes, another white man story ↩