The Lost City of Z (2016) Poster

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7/10
Unusual Review Notes for an Unusual Movie
A_Different_Drummer27 June 2017
That the movie succeeds is a credit to Hunnam, who comes of age both literally and figuratively in this movie with a performance of great humility, charm, and grit. A far cry from his breakout role as a motorcycle gang leader, and an even further cry from his awkward performance in Guy Ritchie's unique (and hopefully never-to-be-repeated) view of young King Arthur as a slum thug.

Props to audiences worldwide who are connecting with a 2 hour and 20 minute opus that is as far from the new Transformers attempt as the earth is from the moon. Shows that quality film-making will always find an audience.

Would have been nice if the script were historically accurate but perhaps that is asking too much.

Ironically, because of the internet, the amount of solid new archaeological evidence being released each 24 hours in today's world would be the equivalent of ten years of time in Fawcett's era. In particular, I am referring to the material of late which suggests lost civilizations submerged in both the Atlantic and the Pacific over 12,000 years ago (see Graham Hancock's lectures for more, most free on Youtube) would explain how Brazil, centered between the two, could indeed have hosted a "lost city" which, thousands of years ago, entertained guests from both realms.

Finally -- for hard-core history buffs only -- the written diagrams preserved even today in the Archives of Rio de Janeiro ("Folio #512") which constitute the last known "communication" from the ACTUAL final, ill-fated, Fawcett expedition were discredited because "experts" of the day claimed they contained elements of different language roots, not one root, and hence "must" be fake. However, if indeed the area was a centerpoint between two now-lost civilizations originating in two different oceans, the multiple language roots would be expected and natural, and not an indication of fraud.
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3/10
Massive let down
peter-stead-740-48696328 March 2017
It's a really good example of how a terrible script can completely destroy a movie. There are too many things which make no sense to list, but the key issues are:

For a film that seems so keen to virtue-signal about white ignorance and racism, it does nothing to explain to us Fawcett's theories about the people of Z. Who were they? How did their civilisation operate? Why did they disappear? Surely these explorers would have built up far more of a picture from the surrounding tribes, artefacts, and previous finds. There is a tiny smattering of these things, but in 2h21ms nowhere near enough to build up a mythology. Therefore it's difficult to see why this obsesses Fawcett. You literally get more detail from the quests in the Indiana Jones movies.

Instead it focuses relentlessly on the most tedious and dangerous aspects of the trips, their suffering, or switches back to London with almost every old man of course a stiff- upper-lip racist and sexist cliché. Imagine a more insidious General Melchett from Blackadder Goes Forth and you won't be far off.

There is an extremely cringey attempt to insert a modern feminist perspective. At one stage, Nina wants to go on the expedition. Her reasoning? She found an important document relating to it. This apparently makes her equal to Fawcett's many years of soldiering and survival skills. It's clumsy and anachronistic. The trip could very well kill them both and so would leave their children orphaned. Surely a more logical argument would be whether he has to go at all. He is, after all, a father, and has responsibilities at home.

The First World War section adds absolutely nothing and captures none of the horror of the battlefield. It's all just tally-ho chaps, almost Hallmark channel-like. Just awful.

Sienna Miller, Robert Pattinson and especially Charlie Hunnam wring what they can from such a sparsely-written script and should be commended for that, which is why this isn't a 1.

Don't be fooled by the title - it's not about a lost city or even a lost man. It's a lazy and pretentious destruction of what could have been a thrilling find.
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5/10
Welcome to the Jungle, we got no fun or games
pyrocitor20 May 2017
Percival Fawcett - intrepid explorer, whose exploits into charting the Amazon jungle in search of a mystical ancient civilization captivated the world and inspired a generation of adventure writers - would probably fall asleep during his own dour, flaccid biopic. Now, this isn't to say the only way to cinematically interpret Fawcett's life would be to whip-crack into full-blown Indiana Jones (though a film this allergic to fun could do far worse than shallow, Romancing the Stone mimesis). Instead, director James Gray strives to tap into Fawcett's mythos and mystique with the lyrical, abstract profundity of a Terrence Malick or Werner Herzog (indeed, his telling is irreconcilably indebted to Herzog's own parable of jungle madness, Fitzcarraldo). Sadly, he's too clumsy a director to commit to the kooky poetry of his thematic earmarks. Instead, his lolling sequences of Fawcett's crew wandering through the jungle or circumnavigating stuffy British Geographical Society politics - amazingly, equally drab and aimless - at times pleasantly hypnotic, but threaten to turn proceedings into The Lost City of ZZZzzzzzz.

Fawcett's memoirs tell of encounters with 60 foot snakes, deadly spiders, and enough peril and adventure to galvanize Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write The Lost World. These tales may have been tall (who's to say? are YOU going to forage through the jungle to fact check?), but it's a rare exercise in cinema purposefully downplaying the fun factor of its source material. The film starts promisingly: after an effectively squirmy opening with Fawcett failing to advance through the ranks of claustrophobic military culture in rural Ireland thanks to disgraced parentage, Gray bequeaths us a fun Ian McDarmid cameo as the evil Emperor of Geography, whose ominous monologue hypes the exotic perils of the jungle, stopping just shy of him purring "Goooood. Goooooood!" So far so good (gooooood!). But, after a thrilling (not) foray into the fine details of cartography, we finally follow Fawcett into the jungle. And wait. And walk. And wait. And cough. And fidget. And try not to check our phones, but my goodness, is that the time? But don't worry: you've two hours of more of the same awaiting you.

(I could tell, as a Canadian viewer, that my crowing this triumphantly at hearing the titular legend correctly[!] pronounced as 'Zed' rather than the customary big-screen 'Zee,' was a sign of how dire the cinematic experience was here )

One brief sequence, where Fawcett's raft and crew are besieged by indigenous arrows, only to meet a bloody end by looming piranhas, plays as a lively prelude to more thrilling adventures to come. Instead, it's the activity high point, an uneasily early climax paving the way to two thirds of increasingly diminishing content. There's no facts, literature, or even conjecture to establish even the skeleton of a mythology enough to share Fawcett's burning desire to unearth the titular lost civilization, apart from a few nonchalant shards of pottery, quickly whisked away from. Instead, we're reminded that the film shares a production team with 12 Years a Slave, and is thereby a Film With an Important Social Message. Behold: lengthy, awkward, anachronistic shoehorned-in diatribes shooting for feminism and anti-colonial racial equality instead playing as Hallmark pandering, patronizing asides of white saviourism. Think of Brad Pitt's uncomfortably didactic, self-congratulatory monologue in 12 Years a Slave. Now imagine sinking into a full 30 minutes of it, in a film that really isn't an organic platform for filmic slacktivism du jour. Yeah, I saw you checking your watch there - don't even pretend.

Even such a feeble ebb of a film could have coughed up some embers with an appropriately charismatic, magnetic lead. Unfortunately, Charlie Hunnam is effectively the antithesis of any such qualities. If his cross between snoozy murmuring, overcooked pontificating, and absentminded smugness were meant to play as enigmatic, he clearly dropped out of Mumblecore college too early to find a balance skewing anything close to watchable. If anything, Robert Pattinson appears to be practically bursting at the seams to chew scenery as eccentric comic relief with deranged relish - so, naturally, after an encouragingly wild-eyed introduction, he's rendered effectively mute by Gray, his performance as much of a dud as his surroundings. Sienna Miller is similarly too swamped by the script's quicksand of 'frowny, long-suffering wife with absentee husband' cliché to cough up anything resembling a spark of humanity to grab onto. So we're left with Tom Holland, funnelling every ounce of sprightly energy, charisma, and irresistible earnestness into Fawcett's son-with-prodigal-father, heralding the film's only genuine character arc. Try as he might, he's barely in it. It isn't enough.

Gray's film is not entirely without minor blips of enjoyment: it's well-shot, and makes good use of the beautiful Amazonian scenery (even if it is all dulled by a frustrating grey filter - there's really no need to live up to your namesake literally, James). Add the serene, soothingly ethereal score of Christopher Spelman, and many of Fawcett's jungle walks attain a pleasantly elegiac peacefulness, like a meditative nature walk. It's just a shame that this is the extent of the film's ambitions, as we otherwise see next to nothing of the excitement, mystery, or peril that made the jungle so obsessively captivating for Fawcett, instead making each jungle reprise, instead of bustling with possibility, at most muster a murmur of placid indifference. The Lost City of Z may be benignly, mildly engaging, but, remains overall, like Fawcett, a promising curiosity fated to be buried in the annals of cinema history. So, if that feat of metatextual anticlimax was Gray's aim, he accomplished it masterfully - the only such instance of mastery throughout. Oh - are you still awake? You're doing better than me. Yawn.

-5.5/10
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1/10
Should be renamed The Lost City of Zzzz...
anerdsham24 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What was probably an incredibly interesting story has been turned into an incredibly dull film. Charlie Hunnam's Fawcett is as flat as roadkill and Robert Pattinson might as well have stayed at home in bed for all he brings to the tale. As for Angus Macfadyen; he obviously thought he was in a different movie entirely. Three times during this film Fawcett travels to the Bolivian jungle yet we barely learn anything about the place or his expeditions. The director skips hastily from one badly written scene to another with all the depth of a Stephenie Meyer novel. This film is an episodic series of set pieces, many of which should have been left in a heap on the cutting room floor; the entire WW1 sequence brings absolutely nothing to the story except filling quarter of an hour of screen time with clichéd dialogue and hackneyed visuals. With Fawcett's final trip to the jungle you might think that the fabled Lost City of Z might finally make an appearance; you'd be wrong. The film fizzles like a damp squib and then the credits roll, and not too soon either. Snore on.
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1/10
The Lost Art of Script Writing
herveherve28 March 2017
This is the first review I have ever contributed to IMDb which I use on a regular basis to inform my viewing choices but I feel compelled to write it as the high ratings are so unjustified I feel I have a duty to share my experience and balance the 7.4 (!!!!) score. I went into this with high expectations... every ingredient was present to potentially make this my new favourite movie, unfortunately the script and narrative (if they originally  had one at all) failed to deliver.

My main problem was the narrative. The story takes place over a few decades and follows the efforts of Fawcett to discover the "Lost City of Z". He embarks on 3 "perilous" expeditions going up the Amazon but no sense of danger or suffering is at any point conveyed by the narrative.

 The 3 trips are each expedited under 20 minutes of screen time. We have absolutely no idea of the time involved (apparently the expeditions lasted a few years each) nor any feeling towards the hardships the crew faces. To make matters worse, new crew members keep appearing out of nowhere and at some point even a horse!! which was nowhere to be seen on the raft in previous scenes. If this was not enough.... the raft keeps going downstream when they are supposed to go UPSTREAM, towards the source of the river.... oh well, I could have lived with these inconsistencies if I had a character to root for. Unfortunately we never feel any sympathy towards any of the protagonists. The character development is non existent and not helped by the fact the acting is very stiff at the best of time and downright awful for most of the movie. I didn't find Charlie Hunnam convincing as a Hell's Angel in SOA but he is seriously laughable as an English Army officer. This absence of feeling and empathy is also to be experienced towards the wife and children he leaves behind, every time he embarks on one of those trips. We simply do not care for them.

I obviously did not go into it expecting a new Fitzcarraldo or Apocalypse Now but for a movie which should have dealt with a man's obsessive doomed quest for a Lost City, the jungle and/or the river should have been part and parcel of the movie, a character in itself, an omnipresent entity. No such thing. The whole movie could have been shot in a winter garden for all I saw... You never have the feeling you are in the mud with the protagonists. The only feeling you experience is one of utter detachment and an urge for the movie to finish as soon as possible.

Extremely disappointed. Do not believe the hype!
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2/10
Someone managed to make the exploration of the Amazon incredibly dull.
martin-807-45227029 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
*****Spoiler Alert**** I was really looking forward to this film, as how can the exploration of the Amazon be anything other than amazing? Well I was wrong, this was utterly boring, excruciatingly dull and just plain awful. I can only give it a 1 out of 5 rating. After the first 30 minutes I was looking at my watch and wondering if I should bother, as I had more important things to do, like clean the oven. How can anyone make the exploration of the Amazon so tedious? This could have been like real life Indiana Jones! There was absolutely no sense of danger at any point, just flat as a very thin pancake. The film should really be re-named The Lost City of Zzzzzzz.

It was a truly odd film, this bloke gets asked to go Bolivia for the Royal Society to do some maps and stuff, doesn't want to go, But they offer him a shiny medal so he goes (leaving his wife and new born son), has a rubbish time, comes back to London, goes back to the Amazon (leaving wife, and second son), comes back to London, Goes to France for WW1, comes back to London and then goes to Amazonia again... For Heaven's sake man - just choose one! I shouted through gritted teeth.

It's terribly directed and the cinematography is really bad (and I say this as a trained cinematographer). It's so dark that I actually wondered if the bulb in the projector was bust, but then it would cut to a scene outside in a garden and it would (almost) be correctly exposed. Some interiors were so badly lit I actually couldn't see who was speaking, and a huge number of shots were so out of focus I again wondered if we were watching a dud print.

There was a really important (cough) scene with two blokes on a train having a chat about something. Now one bloke has a beard and one has a moustache, so that helps tell them apart in the dark, but for some reason we are looking at them over their shoulders and not 'at' them, and Mr Moustache-bloke turns away from camera (probably trying this 'acting' thing) and I can no longer see his face just his ear. Now it's so dark I can't tell if he has a nice ear, if it's too big or too small or if it sticks out, and By God this must be damn boring if I'm wondering about the relative angles of ear projection rather than what the hell is going on.

The framing is really odd, and the eye lines are all over the place, so I don't know who is speaking to who, and often the camera operator decided to be above or below eye-lines, making my head ache as it was so badly composed.

The first three scenes of the film could all be cut, or would serve better as flash backs, as they just don't go anywhere at all. OK a bit of back story, but we know the Major wants a medal with a single line of dialogue, not three flipping scenes as dull as a rainy Sunday.

The main character Major Blokey-pants was utterly dull and his motivation was all rather thrust down out throats, and I didn't care for him. Only after 90 minutes or so did his wife start talking about some bloke names Percy and I thought "Who is Percy?" and I realised it was the main character, who had been referred to as Major something or other (I forget) for the entire rest of the movie.

Couple of massive plot holes: they were in the middle of nowhere running low on food on a raft made of branches saying how no white man had ever been here before and clearly in the background is a bloke on a horse in a field. I kept thinking they would pan around and explain but they never did. I also wondered if they were travelling to seek the source of the river, how they were just floating along and not constantly rowing, as a river flows away from the source to the ocean.

They have been travelling down river for a year apparently and it all goes wrong and they decide to send this bloke back on a horse. Where did this horse come from?

And they are in the middle of the river all weak and dying and the other bloke (Beard-o) says to the main bloke "and here's a letter from you wife." FTAF??? Where had he been keeping that then?

When we finally get to the WW1 scenes the dead bodies in the trenches are clearly shop window dummies and for a film that is this expensive that is just rubbish. These scenes add absolutely nothing to the film, we could just have had a Voice over which went "After the first world war, where I saw active service in France and that bloke I knew who was on the trip to Bolivia with me, you know, thingie, was killed, I returned to London..."

Eventually we get back to Amazonia for the third time and Major Blokey-pants has bought his son with him this time Blokey-Pants minor, and they bang on about finding this lost city of Zzzz but never does he put forward a reason why he thinks there might be a lost city or indeed, why he is so keen to find it, he just wants to find it. Who were these people? Why did their civilisation die out? what was their favourite past time? Did they like cheese? None of these questions were answered or indeed even asked.

Compare this film to the savage Aguirre: The Wrath of God (1972 Herzog) the bonkers Fitzcaraldo (1982 Herzog) or even the rather depressing The Mission (1986 Joffe) and you will be sorely disappointed.
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2/10
So boring, so awful
Brian Stevens28 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The movie starts out very slow with a stag hunt and soon after it is revealed that Hunnam's has no medals or privileges besides rank for his many years of service in the British Army. The British "accent" he uses makes Costner's in Robin Hood seem Oscar worthy. He is offered a job as a cartographer to find the source of an Amazonian river. The act would bring him the honor and prestige that he is seeking.

Despite supposedly heading up river to the source, the travel in a wooden raft with no propulsion and travel downstream. The small vessel does not seem to have any supplies loaded on it at all. The journey is supposed to take over a year, yet Hunnam's facial hair does not grow at all, despite his crew mates growth. Without provisions they try to fish the river, which is seemingly overrun with piranhas with no other fish to be found.

At the source of the river they finally bring out their map making equipment. They find some pottery from an ancient civilization and head back, again downriver.

Back in England he convinces a sponsor to send him back to find a city of gold he calls Zed. During the return, again downriver, they are attacked by natives who are soothed by a song to stop attacking.

It all seems to get worse from there. The whole production was just so boring and silly. The "climax" itself was so very expected and droll.

I think that after this movie and the awful King Arthur flick, it appears that Hunnam should have stuck to television, not be the lead, or fire his agent.
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2/10
If the book is as captivating as the film, I'm glad I haven't read it!
Ben Baber29 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I found the experience of watching this film to be akin to that of listening to a person living with dementia telling you about their life, with an adoring relative interjecting only to say "Oh he was lovely!" every now and then.

It is, in essence, a series of episodes vaguely summarising various events of Fawcett's life. Occasionally but briefly in intricate detail, but predominantly with a general lack of substance. To return to my analogy, I imagined myself at one point saying "That's incredible! Tell me how you felt at that moment, did you realise right then the magnitude of your discovery? Tell me about the gruelling journey home, was it fraught with peril?" Only for the storyteller to continue.. "So I arrived back in London...".

No! Please give me more details. I've dedicated over two hours of my life to hear your story, but I've come away with roughly the same amount of information as I could've gleaned from the back of a primary-school student's pencil case. You know, like the ones that just have a time-line with monarchs' names or some such alongside, but are lacking in any further description.

On the plus side, it was quite nicely shot at points although it did feel as if this, coupled with the apparent fact that this film was shown in selected, more 'prestigious' and therefore expensive theatres/screens were little more than candid narcissism and was tantamount to the director pleasuring himself in my face for the price of my £16 ticket. Additionally, and somewhat bizarrely, the first 20% of the film had a near-constant and somewhat mediocre musical score, immediately followed by a scene wherein some mediocre opera playing within earshot of the characters could be easily mistaken for a continuation of said score. This was intrusive and unnecessary, and although it didn't continue throughout the duration of the film, this did not excuse its inclusion in the first place.

Due to the lack of detail or any attempt at interconnection between what I shall continue to refer to as 'the episodes' with a deliberate lack of capitalisation as I don't consider them worthy of a title, alongside abrupt changes in setting, the experience could also be likened to that of being held hostage in a stranger's living room as they mindlessly alternate channels between a Channel5 period drama and a recap of a Blue Peter trip to the Amazon told from the perspective of a donkey wearing blinkers, such is the lack of momentum and detail. Dialogue is painfully slow and, were this not the case, the running time could've been significantly shortened or better still been put to good use in filling in at least some of the notably absent detail. I am an advocate of a move away from the 90minute format of most films but this does nothing to support that argument.

There is also a borderline-distasteful adoration of Fawcett's alleged delivery of faux-profound proclamations worthy of being printed on the back of a market-stall iPhone case. I am left unsure of whether this was artistic licence or if Fawcett really was that much of a nob. Similarly, little reference is made of his questionable attitude toward the role and capability of women or his insistence upon prioritising the recognition of his peers and reclaiming of the status of his family name over the emotional well-being of his dependants.

Ultimately, his blind faith led only by local legend and a randomly placed Russian fortune teller, and failure to commit to his children led Fawcett either to his death and that of his son or, according to this film, to his decision to remain in the utopia he may have discovered, thus abandoning his wife and remaining children and leaving them only with a faint hope that he survived. The former is likely more plausible, though the latter would come as no surprise.

In summary The Lost City of Z is a vacuous, self-indulgent and ultimately forgettable portrayal of what may have been a great man, but likely was the exploration equivalent of a modern-day philosophy student embarking upon a degree in order to suspend the responsibilities of adult life.

Recommended as an alternative to viewing your Auntie's slide show of sunburn-heavy holiday snaps from her latest trip to Alicante or similar Sun holiday destination.
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3/10
The film takes place in the 20th century, where British explorer Percy Fawcett journeys into the Amazon to discover evidence of a previously unknown civilization.
I'm sad to say that I was disappointed by this film in almost every aspect. It seems to me that the biggest problem it has is the pacing. For a two and a half hour long film, pacing is important to keep the viewers engaged and this movie just gets it completely wrong. It feels like three movies clumsily stuffed into one, and as if that wasn't enough, it adds a bunch of utterly irrelevant scenes which could have easily been cut out of the movie entirely. I, for one, was expecting to see at least some beautiful cinematography, but the movie fails to deliver even in the aesthetic aspect. I was also expecting to see a lot more of the actual journey to the Amazon, but instead we got scene after boring scene in England, where nothing of importance really happens. After about an hour and a half I was left wondering how so many critics found this movie watchable, desperately trying not to fall asleep. To make matters even worse, Charlie Hunnam delivers an awful performance and makes for an overall uninteresting lead. Surprisingly, the only performance worth watching in this film was, out of all people, Robert Pattinson. I'm certainly glad he's moving away from his Twilight years and I hope to see him in more roles like this one in the future. Overall, this was a forgettable, boring, mess of a movie.
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7/10
Interesting portrait of a man, indeed but as a movie it almost lost me.
subxerogravity15 April 2017
It's one of those labor of loves it seems as the film felt like it was more interested in making an artistic narrative than it was about making money. I can respect that, but it was a boring movie for that reason.

The Lost city of Z is about a British explorer named Percy Fawcett who while on a survey mission in the amazon discovers evidence that the "savages" once had a civilization the might even be older than the one he came from and spends his life trying to find it.

I loved Charlie Hunnam in it. Hands down, his most grown up acting performance, and really made Fawcett a compelling man to follow. In fact the whole cast was impressive with Sienna Miller as Fawcett's wife and Robert Patterson who I totally did not recognize under the bread as Fawcett's most trusted companion on his trips. Tom Holland is also in the movie as Fawcett's oldest son who joins him on his last journey to the amazon. Other people gave great performances, but these are the ones I knew by name, making it a pretty stellar cast for me.

While this movie does such a great job making Fawcett's life look fascinating,following him through his time with the army to his time as an explorer, I must admit that the slow burn of the narrative almost put me to sleep. It reminds me of another project Brad Pitt (who produced the movie) was evolved in, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Though the Lost City of Z is not as painfully slow (Notice the tile is half that of the Jesse James movie), the combination of the quiet tone and it's speed was not something I wanted to sit in a movie theater and watch. It's not that the movie is long, it's that it feels long, and it feels like something that the movie does on purpose.

I feel like the movie tries to gives us the realest accounts of a man's life as they can and I can respect that, but man, the two hours and thirty minutes this film comes in at was not easy at all to get through. That's just my warning.

http://cinemagardens.com
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6/10
Where No Man Has Gone Before
Thomas Drufke29 April 2017
It's very rare in 2017 Hollywood that we get an epic like The Lost City of Z. Albeit noticeably flawed in many aspects, this film hearkens back to the days where exploration epics were a normalcy in the filmmaking world.

The strengths of The Lost City of Z lie with its unique journey the protagonist takes, and not necessarily with the protagonist or the film itself. What I mean by that is that I think the actual story the film is based on is more interesting than how the film portrays it. Sometimes biopics that span a great length of time are difficult to effectively portray on the big screen. Because 'Z' takes place over the course of roughly 20 years, it becomes increasingly tough to grapple onto something worth enjoying. Every time one of his explorations seems to get interesting, we get interrupted by his abrupt return to civilization and more family drama. Whether or not that's how the true story of Percy Fawcett went is irrelevant. Sometimes it takes some tweaking to make for an entertaining feature length film.

Charlie Hunnam plays Fawcett, an explorer who seeks glory in finding a mysterious city of people which has "never been touched by a white man". Fawcett himself is an interesting character, especially when the film dives into his own psychology and obsession over 'Z'. He's a lot like Matthew McConaughey's character from Interstellar, always searching for something nobody has seen before even if means leaving his family for years at a time. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Fawcett isn't very likable. We constantly see him leave his family even though, with the exception of war, he has a choice in the matter.

There is something to admire about someone, or in this case multiple people, who keep searching for the dreams no matter the cost. Fawcett, along with a few consistent compadres, go on dangerous expeditions through the jungle to find what they think is a real lost city. The aspects of the film I enjoy the most are watching men go through hardships in search of something they truly care about. In this regard, the film is a fascinating exploration physically and mentally.

Aside from Hunnam, there are a few great performances from Sienna Miller as Nina Fawcett, Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin, and Tom Holland as Jack Fawcett. All elevating each scene they are in and making the journey worth it for sure. There's a lot this film does well, including making a lasting impact on viewers minds in terms of exploration, but the writing can be a little bit more polished with certain changes made to fit a movie and not just serve the story properly. There's a happy medium there that I think could have benefited the final product.

+The Story

+Brings back a lost genre

-Uncharismatic characters

-Uneven script

6.7/10
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5/10
Overlong and Hard to Get Through
brankovranjkovic28 March 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is a film about exploration, about class structure, about being able to fit in, and about success and failure. The protagonist (Percy Fawcett) has a tainted reputation due to his father being a drunk and a gambler. Percy is a military officer who is offered an assignment to chart the Amazon and particularly the area around Bolivia where rubber production was the most lucrative industry, we learn there was a dispute over the position of the border, charting the area would avert a war between the rubber producers. He accepts the mission in an attempt to repair his family name and restore some reputation.

This film challenges the belief that Western Civilisation was the first to be established. Percy flits between jolly 'Old Blighty' and the Amazon several times to continue his obsessive search for this civilisation.

It's hard to believe that he leaves his wife pregnant before leaving for every 3-4 year long expedition, she shows an incredible level of personal sacrifice. It might have been a good idea to have explored her character in more depth.

The film really irritated me because Percy was an absent parent, his eldest son had a justifiable hate / love relationship with him which seemed to miraculously improve from one scene to the next without any stimulus.

There could have been more dramatic filming of the jungle areas. Scenery around the Amazon should be easy to photograph, although we see far too little of this or the atmosphere.

This could have been a more fascinating epic. Although I really like true stories, this was extremely long and dull. A viewer at the end of my row actually fell asleep within the first 30minutes and remained that way for the majority of the rest.

Not a bad film but overlong and ultimately irritating (for me).
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8/10
Biopic of the end of empire
robbierunciman-126 March 2017
I enjoyed the movie - it was a bit paint by numbers but it covered a huge area of his life and his motivations, it was also a story of decline, the derring-do of the British empire and particular type of hero. I think that he has been overlooked because he 'failed' but the film shows how he respected the cultures he found, in contrast to the other members of RGS. The class-based snobbery of the period is also well represented. Highly watchable and recommended.
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5/10
Exploitation and exploration
Diand22 February 2017
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 here as DoP, you can still see his groundbreaking work in Se7en shining through.
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2/10
Should have stayed lost
drjgardner28 April 2017
It's hard to imagine how this film could be any worse. Let's start with the acting. Charlie Hunnam was great as a m/c thug, but he clearly isn't suited to play a British gentleman at the turn of the 20th Century. His accent comes and goes, but it's his non-verbal behavior that betrays the 21st Century. His co-star Sienna Miller (playing his wife) is wonderful, but the film is almost exclusively Hunnam

Then there is the directing. The film fails to give us any feeling for the enormous undertakings, the claustrophobia of the jungle, and the hardships of the journey. Just about the time you might get a sense of it, the director cuts away. Weeks are conveyed in seconds, and years in minutes. You couldn't do a worse job with actually trying.

The editing is a problem too. Edit by symbol undisguised is a first year film school trick and doesn't belong on the big screen.

I stayed for the entire film, hoping somehow they would do something to salvage the film. They didn't.
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10/10
A stunningly shot and classically told story
timothycrouch-7790224 March 2017
This is a wonderful film that restores faith in the traditional art of movie making. Richly shot on 35mm by DoP Darius Khondji, every frame feels like an exquisite painting, carefully constructed by a filmmaker at the top of his game in James Gray. The backdrops of England, the Western Front and Amazonia all have interest on every inch of the screen and yet for all this color and texture, it is the characters that leave you thinking long after exiting the theater.

Charlie Hunnam, as Col. Percy Fawcett, is adequate and measured, but it is star turns from Sienna Miller (Percy's wife), Robert Pattinson (companion Henry Costin), and a ruddy cheeked and opulent Angus MacFadyen (wealthy explorer James Murray) that make the film. The haunting struggle and draw of the jungle and the world Percy leaves behind is revealed through committed portrayals of three dimensional characters who are both authentic to their era and yet still relevant in 2017. And that is the theme that is so skillfully woven throughout the film by Gray, the conflict of portraying the "other" as whole and independent in a world that simplifies and condescends. That Gray could make a story about an early 20th Century British explorer resonate so profoundly with the world we live in today, shows that this is his finest work to date.

All lovers of cinema should see it, but anyone able see it from a beautiful 35mm print should definitely not miss the opportunity. This is filmmaking as it is supposed to be.
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1/10
About as interesting as watching paint dry...
mrjohnvjason8 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I was amazed to see how many movie goers sung the praise of this turkey.

You see the poster touting a Lost City...you are not expecting a drawn tale of a wasted life. Three times the guy goes looking for the lost city and the last time the guy(and his son no less...what the hell happened to the rest of the expedtion?) get captured by the local fierce natives who drug them and then...eat them? Sacrifice them? Toss them in the river to feed the piranhas?

Stupid non-ending to a movie that belongs in art houses to be watched only by people who "have read the book first" and know what is coming.

Go to a nice park, ignore the kiddies playing, the guy throwing his Frisbee to his faithful hound, the young couple on the blanket doing what the traffic will allow or the old dear stuffing the pigeons and find a freshly painted an park bench. Stand for 2 hours (with or without popcorn) and watch the paint dry. It is a more riveting experience than a flick which tries to get you in with a cool poster and some weirdos praising it on IMDb.
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3/10
Disappointing movie despite exciting cast
wiln-5566230 March 2017
After watching the trailer for the lost city of z i was excited to see the film. The cast was promising and i'm a huge fan of historical exploration films and unashamedly the Indiana jones franchise. Having recently watched Master and Commander i thought this could be of a similar calibre. Unfortunately the script was dire and the acting was so awkward and cringeworthy i thought of leaving the cinema (which i've never done) there were times where the film felt like a satire, the main character played by charlie hunnam was paper thin and had no believable or relateable character traits that made you care about his struggle. The plot was pieced together and i cant recall a single scene which felt gritty or believing, as you would hope an amazon rainforest set epic would be. Instead we saw a single dimensional poor acting display from almost the whole cast, with Tom Holland (protagonist son and upcoming actor of the new spider-man) breathing a slight breath of life into the film with a more believable and rounded character. The attempt at having a strong female character was a good idea but it was poorly done and not in sync with the usual characters submissive role, not seeming to care of her husband leaving her and their children in England. Overall possibly the worst film i've seen at the cinema, mainly because of my expectations being let down so drastically. I'd avoid this film and wait for it to be on TV or Online and watch on a rainy Sunday in August. I'd imagine if you went into this film with no expectations it could be enjoyable, but unfortunately a big disappointment from what could have been an enthralling period adventure.
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2/10
Ridicule and disrespectful account of historic figure
frantastika29 May 2017
This is a intense disappointment. After reading few reviews I was expecting something epic at the minimum for the 2h40min that the film run.... however after the first 45min I was sure that there was no way this films could reach nothing then laughter. There so many clichés that after a while you cannot avoid the laughs when is supposed to be dramatic. The plot is interesting but all the aspect that make it special are not explored nor developed. There many characters that seems to vanish without sense and the encounter with the natives at the amazonian jungle are absurd and implausible under the conditions shown. Just for context, Bolivia and Brazil have a significant variety of native dialects ( more then 300 ) this means that many of this areas where not in contact with the Spanish or the Portuguese. The acting, UFFF painful and excessive like in a soap opera. Anachronism in language and behavior... Shame that they miss a great occasion to do something espectacular.
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1/10
Bored in the Jungle
Ferris Vueller28 June 2017
Really boring. The dialogue is horrible.

It gets worse, the movie has progressive PC politics littered around in the dialogue. It portrays Europeans as evil racist wasteful bigots, and of coarse when talking with his wife all they ever do is talk about feminism.

And actually, after reading up on Fawcett, it is clear that he was probably crazy. He claimed to have seen an Apazauca spider, and a Double-nosed Andean Tiger Hound, two species which don't actually exist. And he basically kicked the only real biologist (James Murray) off the team.

Basically, his tours to the Amazon were a scam. Maybe he was just going there for the drugs and the native senoritas.

Best part of the movie was when it was finally over.
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1/10
What a scam !! And there is absolutely no red line in the movie
billaengstrom23 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of these Hollywood movies that should never have been done . Obviously the the guy who put in the money was fooled by the the guy who wrote the script. There is just two problems the guy cannot direct a movie or have even the faintest idea how you cut a movie. It is so confusing so never see this movie since the other ratings are bogus it seems the film company has thrown a lot of ratings to confuse people , just as the movie.
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3/10
Very disappointing
emuir-120 August 2017
As an avid viewer and collector of every film and book about exploration in South America and Africa, I could not wait to see this film. Living in rural America I had to wait for the download or DVD, but oh, was I ever disappointed! Rather than the multiple viewings of Augirre, Fitzcarraldo, the Mission, King Solomon's Mines, Rhodes, even Raiders of the Lost Ark and hokey old Republic movies, this film completely missed the mark. For one thing it was murky and dark. I checked the box to see if it was SD or Standard as the resolution was so poor. Where we should have had brilliantly clear images of the mountains and jungle, we got a few seconds, then back to the gloom. A lot of time seemed to be spent floating upriver on rafts.

The book by David Grann, on which the film was based, was a journalist's account of the life and subsequent disappearance of Col. Percy Fawcett who made seven expeditions to Amazon region, not three. Mr. Grann did not have much to work with, so like a good journalist, he hyped up what he had and speculated on the rest. Fawcett was an army officer who after serving 20 undistinguished years in Ceylon and faced with a lack of advancement, took a surveying course and was sent to impartially survey the borders of Peru and Bolivia on behalf of Britain to avoid hostilities. He made several trips, and after a break for WWI, in which he did not serve on the front line as shown in the film, being too old, he became obsessed with the idea of a lost city, which along with the discovery, would help British prestige by placing another jewel in the crown. At the time, British explorers had been planting the flag in Africa and spreading the good word throughout the savage world.

Fawcett may also have been driven by a desire to get there before the Americans, as Hiram Bingham's discovery of Machu Picchu had captivated the world's imagination. Captain Scott, whose ill fated expedition to the South Pole, where he was beaten by a Norwegian by 10 days and perished on the return journey, was regarded by an outraged Britain as a hero cheated of his rightful victory by that cad Amundssen's use of dogs! Make no mistake, the British firmly believed in the superiority of the British Empire, and that all future discoveries belonged to British gentleman by right, not Americans and foreigners! WWI was to shake that belief and any heroic exploits which could be seized on to beat the drum and restore the faith was seized upon.

The film conveys little of this. Where I expected longer sequences showing the hardships and near starvation and deaths endured by the explorers, we got three brief expeditions which might just as well have been a boy scouts weekend camping trip. One expedition failed after 10 days starvation, of which a photograph still exists of the emaciated survivors. Where were the clouds of biting insects which made sleep impossible, dangerous snakes dropping from trees, the 62 foot long Anaconda which was killed, waterlogged boots rotting from the damp? The journey to reach the expedition sites took months, usually overland from Buenos Aries, but the film gave the impression it was two days by air. One minute they are in the jungle, a few seconds later the ocean liner is being welcomed by cheering crowds in Britian.

Fawcett may not have been the heroic expert explorer that was portrayed by the press of the time, desperately searching for heroes and in the process glorifying some flawed men. In leaving his wife to raise their children alone he was really no different from Captain Scott and serving army officers posted to India and the far east and naval officers who left their families for years on end. He was a man of his time doing what was generally accepted. Had he not disappeared during a highly publicized expedition, he may very well have been forgotten. The one thing he was right about was the belief that there had previously been an advanced civilization in the Amazon. We now know from recent discovery and satellite images that there had indeed been an advanced culture which supported thousands of people, and that the remains have been swallowed by the jungle regrowth, and the descendants of a people and culture destroyed by the European discovery have fallen into a dark ages. Whether his belief in and attempts to discover a lost city were entirely scholarly, or motivated by fame and the possible discovery of gold, we don't know and probably never will.

To be fair and to give the film another chance, I will watch it again to see if my boredom (I switched off three times and went to do something else, including the washing and ironing) was just that I was not in the mood. Sometimes my opinion has changed on a second viewing.
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1/10
Plodding and painfully boring and filled with irrational moralizing
JephyrX31 July 2017
I read reviews that gave me a pretty good idea of what I would face if I foolishly attempted to watch this movie.

I thought, "How bad could it be?", but then found it it was even worse than could be imagined.

First of all this film is achingly dull, and filled with absolutely implausible scenarios like rafts that somehow magically float upstream.

The music is drab and the dialog is forced and stilted...and all the young characters speak in that faux-Shakespearean English that has become ubiquitous in so many movies today where apparently no one has ever heard of a contraction before.

Usually, films give you establishing shots and introduce characters in some kind of chronological order. This one dispenses with that, however, and characters appear at midpoints in scenes as though they were always there. It is a REALLY weird directorial or editing decision! Maybe it had to do with the film's budget...but it was very strange.

With all that said, what really killed this film dead for me is it's heavy handed moralizing.

If you love being lectured as you watch movies...then this one is for you.

If you're looking for a somewhat realistic story, decent acting and some sense of being entertained — then run from this one as fast as you possibly can.
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1/10
awful
wbreslau2 May 2017
This movie made me want to scoop my eyes out with a dull spoon. The plot moved slower than my grandma after hip surgery. The script was written by someone it should not have been written by. The only redeeming aspect of this movie was when Percy's son grew a filthy child touching mustache.
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6/10
An above average true story
alindsay-al29 March 2017
After being made to watch the trailer for this film a few times before other films I actually had some interest in the lost city of z and this film is alright but I don't really care if I ever watch it again. The premise of the film sees an explorer go on an adventure to find a lost city in the amazon. Charlie Hunnam plays the explorer in this film and he does a great job in this film, at first I thought he was a little stoic but he really grows as the film progresses. He brings a lot of passion an humanity to his character and you do care about him and his family situation. Robert pattinson from the twilight franchise is in this film and he was really good as well, I really liked the friendship that builds between him and hunnam and bought it. Sienna miller plays hunnam's wife in this film and I thought she was a strong character and her chemistry with hunnam was really good. Tom Holland who is the new spider man is in this film and he does a really good job especially when you consider that he is still a young man. Also it is great to see ian McDiarmid who Is the emperor in the star wars franchise in a film again. The story is easily the weakest part of this film, it follows this guy and really his obsession with finding this city without really good motivation. You never fully care about him finding the city and this film goes through a lot of side plots that just aren't focused or interesting enough for you to care. The script of the film has some great dramatic monologues and dialogue that does help make you care about the performance's. However, this film is a complete humourless affair and it does hurt the film as there isn't really a moment to relax. The style of the film has some decent action scenes in it and some great cinematography. But it has severe pacing issues, as mentioned before the film attempts to much and it makes this film a rather boring affair. Overall this is an okay film but probably isn't worth watching if you are not interested in the subject matter.
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