Monday, July 17, 2017

Movie Review: The Lost City of Z (2017)

The Lost City of Z (2017) - Written and Directed by James Gray; Starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland.

By Kenny Howell

I hate the common complaint that the book is better than the movie.

Books and movies are two very different things, and a book has more ways to elaborate and really flesh out a subject because of the space available.

But there is also an incredible skill in taking something from a book and cutting it down to its essence.

Unfortunately for The Lost City of Z, it wasn't the part that I enjoyed in the book. David Grann's book was mind boggling adventurous, his descriptions of the Amazon was like visiting another world, to the point where it would almost seem made up if it wasn't true.

None of that is really here. Gray decided to focus on the other half of the story, the one about a man named Col. Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) that gave most of his adult life in search of El Dorado, the city of Gold in the Amazon jungle that Fawcett referred to as Z.

So yeah, I am about to say that the book was better than the movie, and yes I hate myself for it.

However, if you look The Lost City of Z as just a movie, apart from the book, it definitely has a lot going for it, which shouldn't be a surprise with Writer-Director James Gray (The Immigrant). It's gorgeous like all of his films (thanks to the cinematography by Darius Khondji), and is a pretty solid examination of Fawcett.

Fawcett first traveled to South America in order to draw maps of the land for Great Britain. While there, he heard through one of the native tribes of a place called Z, the long rumoured city paved with gold. He returned to Great Britain a hero, so he used that to his advantage and convinced people on a return expedition to search for Z, which wouldn't be his last over his lifetime.

Fawcett would spend the majority of his adult life either in South America or in World War I. That was tough on his family, his wife (Sienna Miller) and his two children, the oldest which is played by Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) in his later years. The movie focuses on these things, and does it well, I just think there was more to explore. It might have been because I had read the book, and know the full breadth of the story. Which may not be fair, but I think someone as interesting as Fawcett deserved it.

Rating: **1/2

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