Z Marks The Spot
♦Tripwire’s Editor-in-chief Joel Meadows packed his blank map and his fedora and reviewed The Lost City Of Z, the new adventure film starring Charlie Hunnam…
The Lost City Of Z
Director: James Gray
Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson
Director James Gray seems on first glance to be an odd choice to helm the adaptation of David Grann’s book chronicling the real-life escapades of British explorer Percy Fawcett. His previous films have included US crime movies The Yards and We Own The Night. The Lost City Of Z is the kind of film that people rarely make these days. Charlie Hunnam from Sons of Anarchy and soon to be seen in Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur, out this May, plays Fawcett, a British army officer in Northern Ireland. Fawcett becomes obsessed with discovering the lost city of Z of the film’s title, a city in Amazonia which was part of an unknown civilisation. A place that was literally at the time off the map. So Fawcett makes several expeditions to the place despite risking life and limb to do so. He even drags his son into his obsession. Luckily his wife Nina (Sienna Miller) is very understanding and realises that the man she has married is very single minded.
The Lost City Of Z is a beautiful and immersive film with a very distinctive sense of visual style, vindicating the film’s decision to choose Gray as its director. The Amazonia that the explorers visit is a foreboding and dreamlike place replete with danger and uncertainty. Hunnam is very good as Fawcett as his cold aloofness suits the period and the character. However Fawcett does also feel like quite a modern character, fighting against the prejudices of Edwardian England against the natives of Amazonia, who they see as simply brutal savages. His wife sees herself as his equal and Miller does play a fairly major role in the film. The rest of the cast are pretty good too including Ian McDiarmid as geographic society head Sir George Goldie and Tom Holland as his son Jack, who will be seen next swinging through the rooftops of New York as Spider-man. There are echoes of Apocalypse Now here as well as, to a lesser extent, films like The Four Feathers and King Kong except that there are no monsters here.
It feels very cinematic and it has a conclusion which is more than a little ambiguous, another thing that is rare these days. The Lost City Of Z is a lush, intelligent film with some likeable performances which feels like a proper cinematic experience. In these days of brash, lurid superheroes, it feels like an intimate and lowkey human tale of exploration. The Lost City Of Z is a film that will stay with you after you leave the cinema, which is also too rare an experience these days too.
The Lost City Of Z is out now in UK cinemas