The Lost City of Z – Movie Review

By Leslie C. Halpern

Amazon Studios took advantage of a great tie-in opportunity with this Bleeker Street film project – the story of one man’s obsession with the Amazon. He’s not fascinated by competitively priced books, bulk foods, or kitchen gadgets, however. This early 20th  century explorer was intrigued by artifacts of what he believed to be an undiscovered advanced civilization that once lived in the jungles near the Amazon River.

The Lost City of Z. Copyright 2017 Aidan Monaghan / Amazon Studios & Bleeker Street.

The True Story of Percival Fawcett

Based on David Grann’s best-selling nonfiction book The Lost City of Z, this film depicts the true story of former British Army officer Percival (Percy) Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who followed his dream of exploration into the Amazon and risked everything to prove the validity of his findings.

The story begins by establishing Fawcett as a loyal soldier and outstanding marksman. Even so, he’s never given proper respect from society because of his family’s humble background. These early scenes – while getting the movie off to a slow start – help to establish one reason why Fawcett might have been so single-mindedly determined to prove his worth to others. Having gained the backing of the Royal Geographical Society, Fawcett leaves his lovely young wife (Sienna Miller) and enlists the aid of his friend (Robert Pattinson) to explore uncharted territory in eastern Bolivia.

A Long, Long Journey in the Amazon

Encountering reptiles, insects, and arrows from unfriendly natives, Fawcett has no intention of giving up the mission, even though it means missing the birth of his son. A second and third expedition follow prompted by his excitement over finding some ancient pottery. It’s this third mission in 1925 – accompanied by his son (Tom Holland) – from which he mysteriously never returns.

Beautiful cinematography helps keep viewer interest as the story oh-so-slowly progresses. At 140 minutes, it’s a mighty long trip through the jungle, but worth the journey.

The Lost City of Z

  • In this true story, an obsessive British explorer repeatedly leaves his family to visit the Amazon, believing he has discovered a previously unknown civilization.
  • Stars: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland,
  • Director: James Gray
  • Genre: Action Adventure Biopic
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity)