The Lost City of Z

“It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to choose his ancestors.”

So is Percy Fawcett’s life so cruelly dismissed. Yearning to reclaim his family name and earn the glory he desires, Fawcett agrees to help map the Bolivia/Brazil border. While there he hears rumors of a civilization in the jungle, something the conquistadors missed. Maybe this discovery will give him the peace he thinks he needs.

The story is interesting, a man going back again and again to the jungle to suffer horrible maladies and ailments, and ultimately die in the pursuit, for a shot at everlasting fame. It’s easy to underestimate the absolute fervor that the world held for explorers at one time. Just going on a trip like that meant instant celebrity, which the movie does well showing.

But the film lacks a lot of heart or really any motivation I can get behind. And a lot of that fault lies with lead actor Charlie Hunnam. I just don’t think he’s that great of an actor. He has the look, and they age him so well, but he leaves a lot to be desired. Not to mention half of the script feels unfinished.

The character is hard to get behind either. Especially since he so eagerly and willingly abandons his wife over and over again basically to come home and greet their new child every 3 years. What a waste of Sienna Miller. Speaking of children, Percy’s son lambastes him for leaving all the time and then 15 minutes later wants to mount his own expedition with him. What an emotional turn around.

But the story’s main fault lies in its telling. Which is linear. Which results in a very jarring moment when all of a sudden, Percy has to fight in WWI. Do you know how formative and horrible WWI was for everyone inside it? How is that not a main focus of the story? It should have taken place during his time fighting, remembering the jungle he explored years before. A tropical hell, but a much better hell than the apocalypse of the Western Front. It’s a wasted opportunity.

Bright spots are the scenery and Robert Pattinson. Good luck recognizing him under that beard, but his dialed down performance is the best part of the movie.

2 out of 4 stars.

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