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Percy Fawcett was one of the greatest explorers Britain has ever produced. Alongside his partner Mr. Costin and later on his own son Jack, Percival regained the credit his family name had lost due to his father’s liking for booze and gambling. Military honours and glory were amongst his ambitions, as it’s portrayed in the film, however those claims were set aside once he stepped on the Amazonian jungle for the first time: he was tasked with mapping a border between Peru and Bolivia as the “neutral British” referee in order to avoid an almost certain war between the two Latin-American countries.
From that moment on, Percy would not stop his expeditions through the Amazonian jungle and soon got obsessed with a lost city he would call “Z”. Some claim this was Fawcett’s own El Dorado, but taking into account the number of times he ended up being right despite his British fellowmen reluctance, seems fair to give the man some credit for his romantic dream. Moreover, infrastructures, pottery and other runes were found many years after his death right on the spot where he claimed “Z” would have stood. Be that as it may, Percy’s epic life met his ending in an equally epic way when he and his son Jack vanished into the most remote and unexplored part of the jungle for not to be seen again. Their last adventure was waiting for them…
Now, the humble opinion of the writer of this article is that such a magnificent story deserves an equally magnificent film. And in the humble opinion of the writer of this article, it’s not quite like that. To be fair, everything that’s been said until this point is shown in the movie; therefore, just to discover, get a better insight or hear this great story again, it’s worth going watch James Gray’s film. In addition, there is a range of very interesting and dramatically powerful topics the movie addresses such as: women’s role in that über-manly world; the laissez faire attitude towards the slavery and dodgy business that took place in those regions right in the beginning of the 20th century; or how the true nature of a man is unveiled in the most extreme situations. There are many positive things to take out of The Lost City of Z; especially, the bravery of the producers taking into account how few “adventure movies” we see lately. Actually, only for that reason the movie deserves some attention: we love adventure movies! Give us more!
The truth is on what Mr. Costin (Robert Pattinson) says to Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam): “We are too British for this jungle”; I would add: “You are too handsome for this movie”. There are two main issues that don’t allow this story be shown in all its glory and truth: the unfortunately unavoidable Hollywood touch, i.e. the good guys are handsome, brave and honourable whereas the bad guys are fat, coward and despicable; and the surprising lack of jungle, native tribes and dangers in a movie that is basically about jungle, native tribes and dangers. Assuming the risk of being too picky, the feeling is that we get a lot of overacted arguments in the Royal Geographical Society, war scenes (it’s just a long sequence but it’s screen time that could be spent in something more related to the actual thing the movie talks about) or Robert Pattinson playing the fun, drunk and witty sidekick (true story). When we could be learning much more about the relationship between Fawcett and the natives, the new animals he discovered and the tremendously dangerous task he was embarking in.
The result is an entertaining movie that is not as entertaining as it should considering its genre; an epic story that is not as epic as it should considering it’s based on a true epic story; and a good way of learning about a really interesting person through an OK movie.
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