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The Lost City of Z (2016)

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In theaters April 21.

A true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.

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(written for the screen by), (based on the book "The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon" by)
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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William Barclay
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James Murray
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Brian Fawcett
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Urquhart
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Arthur Manley
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Bolivian Lady
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John Coundley
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Storyline

The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as "savages," the determined Fawcett - supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.

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based on book | See All (1) »


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Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity | See all certifications »
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21 April 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die versunkene Stadt Z  »

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Previously rated R by the MPAA for "brief violence." See more »

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User Reviews

 
Exploitation and exploration
22 February 2017 | by (Amsterdam) – See all my reviews

Based on the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who made several expeditions to the lost city of Z, believed to be the remains of El Dorado in the Brazilian jungle. The movie follows three of these expeditions and first picks up his life with a long introduction from his military career onwards. The movie becomes only interesting with the start of his first map making expedition on the border of Bolivia and Brazil in 1906. Based on documentary and field research (pottery finds), Fawcett became ever more convinced that a complex civilization had existed there. The movie then touches upon a second expedition initiated by the Royal Geographical Society that lead to controversy about his role in that expedition. The first World War comes in between before he makes his last expedition in 1925 with his son.

The script is based on the fascinating book by David Grann, who visited the region in 2005 and came back with interesting findings about Fawcett's expedition. By now, Fawcett has turned into an icon of exploring ancient civilizations, making its way into popular culture, Indiana Jones and The Lost World come to mind.

The movie and script is however too obvious for the story at hand. It is painting by numbers, going from phase A to B in Fawcett's life without any intelligent storytelling, ending up with a movie that I first thought was made for TV or online. Compare this to the classic Herzog movies Aguirre or Fitzcarraldo, and it is clear what went wrong here: Being about exploration, the movie itself shies away from exploring cinematic possibilities and just plays it safe. Wouldn't it for example not be far more interesting to just focus on that final expedition and make the multiple accounts into a movie? Why Pitt's Plan B saw anything in this is beyond me, as the company has by now a reputation of risk-taking (and often being awarded for that).

But don't get me wrong: The movie is still watchable and the story itself is enough to keep your attention. And it is very nice to see Darius Khondji popping up her as DoP, you can still see his groundbreaking work in Se7en shining through.


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