The Lost City: Another Review

The Lost City: Another Review

Perhaps my most significant issue with modern blockbuster filmmaking is the unwillingness to take risks – everyone is always looking for a sure thing. And sometimes that’s enough; Marvel does it especially well. When something is lacking, add another hero, and fans will rejoice, myself often included. But outside of their dominance, the remaining blockbusters nowadays don’t fare quite as well, mainly due to the lack of being able to add more spandex. Instead, they languish in mediocrity, often hinting at semblances of narrative depth but never having the courage to dive in. The frustrating concoction that brings me to this point is Aaron and Adam Nee’s The Lost City

I want to start by saying The Lost City is not a bad film; it’s just one that could and should have been so much better. It tells the story of Loretta (Sandra Bullock), a once lively linguist and historian turned reclusive novelist after the death of her husband. Her books became a bestselling romance series, all with the same male cover model, the handsome but witless Alan (Channing Tatum). Upon releasing her latest entry, Loretta finds herself kidnapped by the nefarious Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) to translate ancient writing and ultimately find some long-lost treasure, leaving only hapless Alan to save the day. 

It’s hardly anything too daring, but it boasts a fantastic cast, so that was enough for this to get by. The missed chances begin to arise with Loretta’s sombre past and how she never honestly confronts it despite the film often insisting it’s the entire point. There’s a compelling story about how Loretta shuts herself away from everything she knows and loves after her husband dies, but instead, that takes a back seat to a mismatched romance between Tatum and Bullock. As a comedic pairing, they are often hysterical together, but when their feelings for one another begin to blossom, it always feels awkward and unnecessary, and the film would have worked far better had they just been friends. 

What does work is the humour. Almost all the jokes land, from Brad Pitt’s hilarious cameo to a devilishly good Daniel Radcliffe. My biggest worry was that the gags would fall flat, but I was proven wrong as my theatre bit for near every line, especially in the opening portion. But, again, when things become randomly raunchy, things begin to fall apart, which only happens once, but it feels entirely out of place and off-tone with the rest of the film. Outside of that, audiences will have a lot of fun coming to see The Lost City, even if the story leaves plenty to be desired. 

The fun is thanks to the star-studded cast, who all boast wonderful comedic chemistry. Including Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who plays Loretta’s only true friend and publisher Beth, Patti Harrison as Loretta’s social media intern Allison, and Oscar Nuñez as Oscar, who is just a quirky guy with a goat we meet along the way. All have laugh out loud, family-friendly moments. 

The Lost City had the potential to tell a moving story and instead opted to play it safe. The entire endeavour almost becomes a mess boasting a mismatched romance at its centre. But thanks to the everlasting charms of Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, there are many funny moments to at least make you enjoy what we got, even if it’s still hard not to wonder what could have been. 

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Mark is an Australian who likes movies, a lot. Now he studies and writes about them. Will watch anything Scorsese has ever touched.


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