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The Emerald Forest
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The Emerald Forest More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Breathtakingly beautiful film! A once in a lifetime experience

10/10
Author: NateWatchesCoolMovies from Canada
25 November 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

John Boorman's The Emerald Forest is the kind of exotic, intoxicating, wildly adventurous, unbelievable and unforgettable film that comes along once in a decade, if that. These days this sort of film would be gilded to the hilt with unnecessary Cgi, a burden which filmmakers just can't seem to free themselves from in this age. Back in 1985, they had to use what they had, filling every frame with on-location authenticity, genuine realism which prompts a feeling of wonder and sense of mysticism from the viewer, which any computer generated effort just cannot compete with (I will concede that this year's The Jungle Book came up aces, so there are a few cutting edge exceptions). This film is quite the undertaking for both cast and crew, and one can see from scene to scene the monumental effort and passion that went into bringing this story to life. It's also partly based on true events, adding to the resonance. Powers Boothe plays technical engineer Bill Markham, who is living with his wife (Meg Foster) and two small children in Brazil, while he designs plans for a great river dam which will allow further development. One day, on a picnic at the edge of the rainforest, his son Tommy disappears, after spotting an elusive tribe of Natives. Gone with no trace but an arrow lodged in a nearby tree, Bill launches a search for his son that spans a decade, returning year after year to probe the vast, untamed jungle in hopes of somehow finding Tommy. Tommy, now a young man and played by the director's son Charley Boorman, has been adopted and raised by the kindly tribe, known as 'The Invisible People' for they way they remain unseen as they move about their home in the forests. Tommy is very much one of them, taken up their customs and traditions, with nothing but vague memories of Bill in his dreams, which he doesn't believe to have actually happened. One day in the hostile territory of 'The Fierce People', Tommy and Bill are reunited, Tommy taking his wounded father to his home village. Bill is heartbroken that his son is essentially no longer his, conflicted by the situation. Tommy has just entered his life as a man, taking a gorgeous wife (Dira Paes) from his village and starting a future. Trouble brews as The Fierce People threaten Tommy's village, and their women, prompting him to seek Bill's help. It's interesting to see how a tribe who have had little to no contact with the outside world react to it, calling it 'the dead world' and referring to the developers as the Termite People who cut down the grandfather trees. The environmental message is never preachy, always feeling like a vital and important truth that is organic and unforced, emerging through the characters and their interactions. The Natives possess an innate spirituality and connection to the intangible which we have forgotten as progress alters us, still rooted deeply in forces beyond our 21st century comprehension. Boothe is deeply affecting in one of his best roles, a desperate father through and through, while also filling out the broad shoes of the wilderness adventurer he has become over the years. He fills his performance with pathos, longing and is the emotional soul of the piece. Boorman is spry and takes up the aura of Tommy well, mastering the complex linguistics and mannerisms of the tribe admirably. One of my favourite aspects of the film is its exquisite and moving score, the main theme evoking wild romanticism, old world secrets and the unending beauty of nature so well that one feels goosebumps as if we're really there in that setting. Pure cinematic magic, a timeless story told without flaw or hitch, and a breathtaking piece of film.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A Rich Tapestry Of A Film: Boorman's Best

9/10
Author: nbwritersinbox from United Kingdom
4 September 2011

Remember the 80s? For some of us, that's now along time ago. I recall "green" issues becoming a hot topic, at least among the Intelligensia. With only 47 reviews, there's little evidence to suggest this film appeals to wider audiences. A sad indictment that green issues are still overlooked.

One of the better cinema releases made during that decade (when politics took a sharp turn right) was this technically masterful production. So, I'm surprised Emerald Forest only limps in with a 6.8 rating. I doubt films this well-made would get past the accountants in 2011.

Boorman's wonderful films include Excalibur and Deliverance. Here, deep in the Amazonian Jungle, he's at the top of his game. We have beautiful cinematography, gritty and memorable acting, a thundering plot that keeps us entertained throughout the movie.

Okay, there's the typical "Noble Savage" motif and a rather convenient conflict between two tribes (the Fierce People seemed over-simplistic). But it's a mainstream movie, so we cannot expect too much. At least Boorman attempted to research Amazonian Tribal Life, so this film does not suffer too much from ignorant stereotyping.

A feature of many Boorman Films is the focus on touching relationships. Here, we have two different kinds of "father-son" interaction, Tomme's real determined father and Tomme's wise, tribal one. There's also the Romeo & Juliet style interaction between Tomme and Kachiri (handled sensitively by Boorman). Other more complex relationships are also explored, such as interactions between different tribes, or the exploitative practices of some "western" visitors, whose treatment of the natives is less than fair.

The film's a rich tapestry. I still find it breathtaking viewing.

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

beautiful and unusual - but take note of comments!

8/10
Author: innatrance from United Kingdom
4 October 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is nice as a step out of the usual backgrounds or settings for movies. And whilst it is in the main part shot in rain forest, it is most certainly not boring in any way.

I notice there have been comments by others about certain mystical aspects in the film being too far fetched, but i can assure they are not. Following this, it is quite understandable that if someone watches this and has a limited understanding of reality and the mind - they may find certain aspects of the film slightly frustrating and/or overly convenient to be true. An example here is the art of merging with spirits who take on certain archetypal forms, such as an eagle or leopard. These are very ancient shamanic methods used to attain knowledge, power and healing abilities and are not a crazy load of made up stuff by the director. I have personally had many similar experiences to some in the film - example: once some way through a year long shamanic training, i lay on my bed and merged with a spirit and found myself as the form of an eagle (as was usual with this spirit). I had asked the spirit to take me to a gorgeous girl i had met in London a few weeks before, as i regretted never asking for her phone number after having to rush for a train. I found myself flying above London and eventually landed in leicester square where the spirit told me i should go. I finished the journey, left my house, got on the train and went to leicester square. The first person i talked to (a guy doing the charity stuff on the street) turned out to be one of the flat-mates of the girl! Einstein said 'co-incidences are God's way of remaining anonymous'. The point of this story is that the mystical stuff in Emerald Forest is factual. And it is not confined to rainforests, but in fact can be and is used in modern cities - ha ha and not just to save tribes but sometimes God willing to get girlfriends! Then also the idea that sickness (in the films case, a severe fever from enemy tribal poison), can be sucked out of someone in it's elemental energetic form- this is also ancient practise which traditionally one is merging with a helpful spirit to gain powerful protection beforehand - as is demonstrated in the film. All the mystical stuff is indeed actually down to earth, factual and to be embraced.

And this is one particular thing which brings beautiful harmony to The Enchanted Forest - it is not just down to earth because of it's setting, because of good actors and acting or because of a good story - but because it has not been afraid to remain true to another part of life, inherent in the films settings and culture. That which perhaps seems overly mystical to the average western mind. For me it seemed nothing had been left out of the film, as often is the case in order to meet the wishes of studios, who only care about their profit and not the wealth of the film itself as a branch of art.

Bear in mind that the whole film is based on a true story and really how can you go wrong? Adventurous, beautiful scenery, good acting, good characters, based on true story, unusual spiritual elements, emotional and action plus a good eco message leaving you wishing the whole world would watch it.

Enjoy!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A definite source Boorman used

8/10
Author: wferri6 from United States
12 January 2012

A definite source for The Emerald Forest is the book, Wizard of the Upper Amazon, by F. Bruce Lamb. The story is a second hand account of Manuel Cordova's kidnapping when he was a teenager working for rubber cutters in the Amazon in the early 1900s. He was taken by a group of Indians to a very remote, primitive Indian village. These Indians were of a fierce independent disposition, and had fled into the interior because they refused to exist in the subservient situation imposed on them by the rubber barons of that time. Cordova was incorporated into their tribe and describes a life strikingly similar to the one depicted in The Emerald Forest. The similarities include the adversarial tribe, the reason The Invisible People moved further into the Jungle, and the tribal ceremony with the hallucinogenic.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

This is a good adventure with vibrant colors, scenery and awesome action sequences

8/10
Author: Ed-Shullivan from Canada
19 February 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: This review may include spoilers Although this film may have been based on a true story, the actual account is not as the movie producers have chosen to depict their story line. I enjoyed the film simply because the beginning of the story, as well as the end of the story are factual, and the flow of the movies storyline will keep the audience's attention. A 10 year old boy named Tommy was taken away from his family at the edge of the forest where his father was working and raised by an Amazon tribe. Ten years would past before father and son are eventually re-united and the young innocent child is now a fully grown man and an experienced tribesman of the Amazon forest.

What I enjoyed about the film was how the young child named Tommy was transformed in to tribesman and hunter Tomm"e" (after a ten year elapsed time is noted) grew in to a man and accepted his new life by the Amazon tribe who abducted him. When Tomme's father continues to build a bridge over the next several years so that heavy industrial equipment can cross the river and strip away the rain forest trees, the story takes on a different message. It is now a fight between the Amazon tribesman who are witnessing their land being stripped away by the white man and his heavy machinery to build this monster bridge, and a father's perseverance to find his lost son Tommy and bring him home to his mother.

Excellent performances are noted as the actors playing the adult Tomme (Charley Boorman), Tomme's father Bill Markham (Powers Boothe), Jean Markham (Meg Foster) and Tomes' love interest tribeswoman Kachiri (Dira Paes). I found the scenery and interaction amongst the various Amazon tribes provided the audience with some insight as to how the Amazon tribes fought, protected, lived and even forged for food. John Boorman is an accomplished film maker both as a producer and director whose body of work also includes other highly acclaimed films such as Deliverance (1972) and the Tailor of Panama (2001).

The Emerald Forest is an action/adventure story based on some real events which I mentioned earlier. If you can accept the film as nothing more than an opportunity to escape reality for two hours and vision yourself trying to survive in the dense Amazon forest than I believe you will enjoy director John Boorman's visionary story. Get yourself a good drink and some snacks, sit back and escape to The Emerald Forest. I give the film a strong 8 out of 10 rating.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great exploration of man vs. the wild

7/10
Author: Leofwine_draca from United Kingdom
13 January 2013

THE EMERALD FOREST sees John Boorman returning to the dark heart of the world's wildernesses in this story about native tribes living in the Amazon. Powers Boothe plays an engineer whose son is kidnapped by one such tribe, leading him on a ten-year search for answers.

The film works on a double level. First, it stands as a completely adequate action-adventure, with all manner of violent shoot-outs, especially a climactic showdown that brings back memories of hard-hitting '70s greats like ROLLING THUNDER. There's suspense a-plenty, along with strong turns from both Boothe and the director's son.

The film's storyline also allows Boorman to explore themes that are clearly close to his heart, namely the destruction of the Amazonian rainforest by greedy developers and loggers, who turn out to be the real villains of the piece. Yes, it sounds like it could be preachy but it never is, thanks to Boorman's skill at handling the material with subtlety and grace.

THE EMERALD FOREST is virtually unknown today - I caught it tucked away in a late-night showing - but it doesn't deserve to be; DELIVERANCE is the better known effort but this comes close at frequent intervals.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Interesting look at the lifestyle of an Amazon tribe in the vanishing jungle where a boy is taken by primitive men

7/10
Author: ma-cortes
23 November 2012

Ecological thriller that has in highlighting the destruction of the South American rain woods ; being based upon a real story and filmmaker John Boorman cast his own son , Charley Boorman , in the starring character . Bill Markham(Powers Boothe) moves his family to Brazil where has a job as an engineer in construction a dam project . After the son (Charley Boorman) of engineer is abducted by an aboriginal tribe on the edge of the rain forest, the engineer and his wife (Meg Foster) spend the next 10 years searching for him . Ultimately Markham is captured by a cannibal and bloodthirsty tribe and ironically rescued by "Tomme," who only has dim memories of his biological dad . The teenager spends the next years living under jungle law and integrating an alternative lifestyle . Finally , the father discovering a happily adjusted boy who may not want to go back to so-called civilization . Although Bill wants desperately to have his son accompany him back to civilization, "Tomme's" loyalties now belong to "The Invisible People." The rain forest of the Amazon are disappearing at the rate of 5000 acres day . Four million Indians once lives there , 120.000 remain.

An ecological adventure with mystical touches that was ahead of its time in denounce about forest destruction . This exciting film contains thrills , emotion , adventure and action scenes of infighting between violent rival tribes that generate a lot of entertainment . Inspired by an uncredited story about a Peruvian whose son disappeared under similar circumstances . According to director John Boorman's book 'Money Into Light', his initial choice for the part of Tomme was C. Thomas Howell. When he was unavailable, John decided to use his own son Charley for the part. He plays a boy grabbed by tribesmen whose community is facing disappearance because of the building of a massive dam designed and built by his daddy . Glamorous and lush cinematography by Philippe Rousselot who photographs wonderfully the Amazon jungle , obviously filmed under difficult conditions on location .

This engrossing and enjoyable film with interesting screenplay by Rosco Pallenberg was well directed by John Boorman . He's a good professional filmmaking from the 6os , though sparsely scattered and giving various classics . John started as an assistant direction and his friendship with Lee Marvin allowed him to work in Hollywood as ¨Point Blank¨ (1967) and ¨Hell in the Pacific¨ (1968) from where he returned to the UK and directed ¨Leo¨ (1970) , a rare Sci-Fi titled ¨Zardoz¨ (1974) or the ¨failure Exorcist II¨ (1977). His films are without exception among the most exciting visually in the modern cinema . He became famous for Excalibur (1981), the best of them , ¨Emerald forest¨ (1985) with a ecologist denounce included and his autobiographic story ¨Hope and Glory¨ (1987) and which brought him another Academy Award Nomination after ¨Deliverance¨ . Rating ¨Emerald forest¨: Better than average . Wholesome watching .

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Tushar/Chase's Movie Review

7/10
Author: Chase Fitzgerald from United States
9 July 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The movie the Emerald Forest was a fictional story that was based on a true story. Boorman based his movie of a article that appeared in the Los Angeles Time in the early 1980's which talked about a father whose son was abducted by native tribes and rediscovered ten years later. This may be a true story although there are critics out there who claim that the man made up the story because he wanted attention. The Emerald Forest was a very good film. The Emerald Forest was the first film to bring up the issue of the destruction of the Amazon. The locations are picturesque and Boorman is able to capture the cultural authenticity of the native tribes of the Amazon. What really surprised me was that Boorman did not use actors but went deep into the jungles of Brazil to find real natives to give his a film an authentic feel. This was especially true regarding the Invisible People who Boorman portrayed as a mysterious and elusive tribe which is demonstrated when they are camouflaged in the jungle and manage to stroke Tommy's face with a feather undetected by his family who are only a few feet a away from the Invisible People. That being said although Boorman did capture the authenticity of the native tribes and address the issue of deforestation the storyline was a little dull and cliché. This movie contains all the clichés that other movies have where a white man meets the natives. The first major cliché we can see in the movie is when the white men come they bring with them guns and alcohol and of course they exploit the natives. Another cliché is that as the white men come and development and progress disturbs the native's way of living as well as destroy the rainforest. The final cliché which we see in a lot of movies where natives play a predominant role is that the native lifestyle is portrayed as a sanctuary that sin has never entered. I still believe the film was good and I understand for the most part that is really what happens but Boorman could have made the film a bit more interesting and different and still portray his message. The preservation of the rainforest can easily be identified as the overriding and most obvious theme portrayed in this movie. The concern for maintaining the rainforest is demonstrated through the presumed wisdom we are called to see in the American Indian elders, however; Bill Markham is blind to this wisdom until the end of the movie. A few statistics are also thrown around in the movie concerning the role the Amazon plays in the world and how the white man is destroying it all by bringing industry to the area. The statistics are thrown around in a subtle way for Markham to realize the implications and damage he has caused by building the damn, showing them as being far greater and vaster than he had expected. It was powerful to hear the reporter say that 40 percent of the world's oxygen supply is generated by the rain forests and watch Markham dismiss him because of his ignorance to the real issue. Also, the movie goes on to assert that 5,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest is disappearing every day. This is actually generous. Once Markham realizes the vastness of the problem, the tables had already been turned on him. He too is kidnapped and is rescued by his son "Tomme". This scene was powerful because it shows that the boy had actually become loyal to his kidnappers and what they stand for, not the white man plight for development and industrialization. Through all of Bill's begging and pleading, he wouldn't return back to civilization with his biological father. What does it reveal to his Bill? He finally understands the destruction of life he had contributed to over the past 10 years and tries to undo his wrong by letting a violent thunderstorm destroy the dam they built.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Best Film I have ever seen and it will never be topped

10/10
Author: chris-ft from Ireland
26 August 2008

This is an amazing movie about a father dedicated to finding his son who has been abducted by native Americans in south America. My mother stumbled across it some time ago and recorded it for me claiming she had watched it over a decade ago and it stuck with her since. I watched it with my girlfriend and we were both amazed by the film! I would not normally expect much from an old film but this one had everything. The scenery was amazing, the acting was excellent and the plot keeps your heart racing. The abducted kid grows to become one of the natives and embarks on an amazing adventure following his fathers 10 year search for him. It brings you deep into the amazon rainforest as you learn about the life of 'the invisible people' tribesmen and their conflict with another terryfing tribe. I cannot understand how this film has such a low rating nor the fact that it is not well known. If you stumble across it be sure to watch because in my opinion this is the greatest film ever made!!

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8 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

A Fictional Ecological Adventure

6/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
28 May 2012

The American engineer Bill Markham (Powers Boothe) moves with his wife Jean Markham (Meg Foster) and children to Amazonas to work in the construction of a dam. When he brings his son Tommy to the site forest, the boy is abducted by the tribe of the Invisible People and brought to rain forest. Bill spends ten years seeking out Tommy in the forest. When he finally meets Tommy, he is an Indian and does not want to leave his tribe and return to the civilization. But when Tommy's mate Kachiri (Dira Paes) and the women of his tribe are kidnapped by a gang of white slaves to work in a brothel in the forest, Tommy searches Bill in the big city to help his tribe to rescue the female Indians.

"The Emerald Forest" is a fictional ecological adventure by John Boorman. The plot is entertaining and it is laughable to read absurd such as "based on a true story". The Brazilian Indians have been burying their dead for centuries as part of the work of the missionaries. The habit of burning and eating the ashes is before the arrival of the missionaries. The destruction of the forest is a reality provoked by farmers and overseas companies with economical interest in our wood. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "A Floresta das Esmeraldas" ("The Emerald Forest")

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