The Lost City of Z | Director: James Gray | Rating: 10/11
Set in both Europe and South America in the early 1900s, The Lost City of Z is a magnificent film that speaks to Gray’s genius as a director. Often forgotten, Gray has made numerous brilliant films (a stand out includes The Immigrant), but he truly outdoes himself with The Lost City of Z, an adventure, war, and family drama all rolled into one. The film questions what it is to be an explorer, especially in a world that is no longer interested in it.
Based on the book of the same title by David Grann, The Lost City of Z tells the story of real-life British explorer, Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), as he embarks upon a quest to map the border of Bolivia. Along the way, he discovers ancient artifacts leading him to believe that there is a “lost city of Z” in the Bolivian jungle. The film follows Fawcett as he attempts to convince those around him, including his wife, the Royal Geographical Society, and the government that the city is indeed real and that it is worth exploring.
Hunnam gives his finest performance to date as Fawcett, proving that he deserves far more substantial roles in the future. Sienna Miller portrays his wife, Nina, in what is arguably one of her best performances. But the true shocker is a nearly unrecognizable Robert Pattinson as one of Fawcett’s fellow explorers. Donning a rough beard, Pattinson transforms himself into a weathered captain who nearly steals every scene.
While the acting in The Lost City of Z is impressive, the real standout is the cinematography. Gray fully immerses his audience into the wilds of the Amazon, each scene lush with emerald vines and deep blue sky. It’s not just the Amazon that Gray transports his audience to; it’s the harsh trench warfare of World War I, the sprawling ballrooms of Edwardian England, and the charming English countryside. Each shot is a feast for the eyes, up until the final moments in the Amazon.
Although parts of the film run a bit long, it’s never boring. The tale of Percy Fawcett is not only captivating, but inspiring. Even though one may have to venture on their own, it’s the journey that’s worth fighting for.