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Drama - Historic

The Lost City of Z (2016)


Duration 2h 21m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story Real events which prompted a book by US journalist David Grann
Director James Gray
Writers/Script James Gray
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Ian McDairmid,

Elevator Pitch: in 1905 Major Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnum) is hired by the British government to carry out a border survey in the upper reaches of the Amazon, assisted by Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson). He hears of a legendary city but discounts the information until he finds unusual relics in the jungle, prompting him to revisit the Amazon basin on a number of occasions searching for “Z”. On his brief visits home he sires a number of children, but it is not until after he is gased in WW1 that he is reconciled with his eldest son, who thinks his father neglected the family. In 1925 the two depart on a final expedition from which they never return. Their fate remains unknown.

Content:  Fawcett is motivated by a desire to fit in with the toffs. We see he and Costin struggling about in the jungle, randomly getting the survey theodolite out (I don’t think that’s how it works). Later the various expeditions take place. They raft down the upper Amazon, and canoe up it. They converse with natives and are shot at by some with bows and arrows. On one expedition a biologist who has helped finance it goes mad. We see Fawcett in family situations with Nina his wife who later pleads with the Royal Geographical Society for an expedition to find him.

A View:  This film was quite well thought of but lost money. Perhaps the stars were not quite starry enough. For me the explorers seemed to lack direction. Sometimes they were rafting down river, sometimes canoeing up, and even when there were apparently only two of them travelling light they were at times carrying different things. And really the stuff in the trenches was unnecessary. So the story, really that of one man’s obsession, lacked focus. It might be a watch for nothing while doing a bit of knitting. You know how it ends.

Additional Info: There is probably a story in the making of the film, but more importantly one of the present day explorers has dissed the film, for glorifying the activities of a man who was “a racist” and an “nutter”. His words.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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