On The Lost City Of Z’s contemporary take on old school adventure/ambition.
“What did you hope to achieve out here?”
A marvellous throwback to an age of adventure & ambition. The Lost City Of Z is focused on the long haul, but its lengthy runtime plays a key role in securing the feel of an epic journey. The phrase “they don’t make ’em like this anymore” seems to have been bandied about with regards to almost every other non-blockbuster release lately – here’s one that truly deserves it. See it on the big screen, in all its visual splendour (courtesy of Darius Khondji’s sublime jungle-set photography). I can’t say I’m well-acquainted with James Gray’s filmography, but this feels like an endearingly enterprising piece of work. Consider my interest piqued.
There is a reason why they don’t make movies like this anymore. The time for romanticising aggressive colonial expansion is over – regardless of how epically cinematic those tales may be. Fortunately, this quiet homage to old school cinema is imbued with more contemporary ideals, including a pleasantly progressive protagonist. Charlie Hunnam’s Fawcett serves as an interesting deconstruction of the deep-rooted hunger that drives a man, and the perilous efforts to ‘prove oneself’ it provokes. Hunnam carries himself well here – what he lacks in charm, he makes up for with genuine onscreen presence – but the unlikely pair of Sienna Miller & Robert Pattinson are constantly threatening to steal the show away from him. Tom Holland rounds out a fine supporting cast.
Awkward diversion into World War I aside, I was swept off my feet by this slow-burn Amazonian adventure – which wasn’t something I expected going into it.
I’m one of the many who embraced Kong: Skull Island in all of its shallow-yet-entertaining glory, but I wish it’d shown the same kind of care towards constructing its characters as Gray did here. I never thought I’d say I’d find Charlie Hunnam more compelling to watch than typically charismatic Tom Hiddleston.