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Venture into the heart of darkness: Lost City of Z review by Rashid Irani

Expect action, adventure and an inspiring true story, set in the heart of the Amazon

movie reviews Updated: Jun 02, 2017 13:44 IST
Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
The film follows British soldier and explorer Percy Fawcett, who believed he had discovered evidence of a previously unknown civilisation deep within an uncharted jungle.
  • Direction: James Gray
  • Actors: Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller
  • Rating: 4.5 / 5

The Lost City of Z is a stimulating reconstruction of one man’s quest, over decades, for a vanished South American civilisation.

It is inspired by the true story of British soldier / explorer Percy Fawcett, a visionary who forged his way into the Amazonian wilderness time and again, more than 100 years ago.

Initially tasked by the Royal Geographical Society with surveying the unmapped border between Bolivia and Brazil, the cartographer (Charlie Hunnam, riveting) discovers evidence of a previously unknown agrarian society deep within the uncharted jungle. His findings are ridiculed by his snobbish compatriots, who regard the indigenous population as ‘savages’.

Fawcett and his son disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1925, while still searching for the titular city.

Nonetheless, he takes a couple of helpmates, including a seasoned aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson, barely recognizable beneath a bushy beard), and ventures ever deeper into the treacherous terrain, where death lurks around every bend in the river.

After a brief interlude during which he enlists in the Great War, he returns for a third expedition, this time with his eldest son (Tom Holland). Both men disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1925. For all his lifelong obsession and personal sacrifices, the titular city proves to be unattainable.

Evocative of place and period, the wide-screen 35-mm cinematography by Iranian-born Darius Khondji (Woody Allen’s regular latter-day collaborator) contributes immensely to the film’s success. The Lost City of Z is an illuminating odyssey into the heart of darkness.

First Published: May 26, 2017 16:06 IST