The Lost City of Z Review - Brilliant, Four Stars, An Epic Masterpiece

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The Lost City of Z, from Amazon Studios, Bleecker Street Media, and Plan B Productions, presents the true story of the British explorer Colonel Percival Fawcett and his addiction to Amazonian exploration, that holds him captive, enchants him, and ultimately destroys him.

Directed by James Gray, The Lost City of Z stars Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen, Edwar Ashley, Ian McDiarmid, along with a supporting cast of talented, engaging, extra’s. The Lost City of Z was written for the screen by James Gray and based on the book by David Grann.

Set in the late 1800’s somewhere in the countryside of the British Empire, The Lost City of Z begins with the annual hunt, Percy Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, an expert rider, of questionable linage we find out, sets himself apart with the kill. He is a man above his peers, with a greater destiny, even in his low military rank.

We meet Nina, his loved and beloved wife, played by Sienna Miller, preparing for the evening’s festivities, after the expert showmanship from her husband they are obliged to make an appearance as he just may gain audience with power if for nothing else than his excellent marksmanship.

Also, as the aristocrats examine the kill, praising the hunter, the elder statesmen explain, with a slight indication, "Fawcett is of questionable linage." And with that no medals, for a man of his time and dedication his military uniform should be decorated, at least, a little more.

Soon he is more than a married man, and now a family man, with son Jack, as an adult played by Tom Holland, resting in the grass with Nina, he explains the opportunity he has been given. The Royal Geographical Society of explorers has offered him the chance to explore Amazonia on behalf of the British Empire. The chance of a lifetime, and the opportunity to finally be recognized for the man, the leader that he is, it is an opportunity he cannot pass.

As she responds, as any woman who loves, intensely loves her husband would, she asks him not to leave, not to go, without saying who cares about some savages in a god forsaken place in uncharted territories with civilizations that may be older and predates our own what can they do for you and our family now.

Percy dreams don’t fit the boundaries of his circumstances or even the boundaries of his home and with love secure, his home and family in his heart he sets sail to worlds unknown.

The Lost City of Z handles the sea journey from the United Kingdom to South American with a single exterior shot of the ship driving across the ocean and Percy alone, with his journal and thoughts still of his wife and child.

It is here we met Henry Costin, played by Robert Pattinson, who becomes Fawcett’s lifelong friend, companion, and strongest supporter. When the two arrive in Amazonia, the two pick up a third man, Arthur Manley, played by Edward Ashley, who also lives with the same elevated vision that is shared between the three.

Soon the group is trekking upriver to uncharted territories, an open target as the wooden raft is midstream with shade trees and thick jungle on either side. The group falls under attack of the local savages.

Needless to say, our explorers, Percy and company make it past each obstacle and finally find a remnant of a civilization.

The victor’s spoils are great for the men as the plunder is more than the trinkets on display upon return. They are the memories, the days of river travel that holds them captives, the lush jungle of men and rivers, mighty and uncharted, the heat and even the pestilence and mosquitoes that carry malaria fascinate in hind sight.

And yes, the respect of the aristocrat, of society, of nobility of being the only one, to have brought back proof of civilizations outside our own.

Percy has finally become closer to the man he believes himself to be.

The Lost City of Z is masterfully done. I found it fascinating from the first frame. The film is a remarkable account of a life who desires more, who needs more, and in the process of serves the world, as even fear doesn’t incapacitate or render him mute.

Charlie Hunnam, who I must admit, is new to me and probably to American audiences although quite well known in the U.K., his role as Percy needed so much more than any physical demands, the voice that transcends circumstances and calms in the midst of death, calms fears, and settles one’s soul which he did. His portrayal is captivating.

The entire cast and supporting players from Tom Holland who gives a stand-out performance to the unnamed savages who are equally fierce and bring force as the story reveals itself.

It would be remiss of me not to add the exceptional performance of Angus Macfadyen. It was surprising, shocking what men will do to stop others from realizing their dreams.

Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller, each lead actors, bring to this film the three-strand pillar than makes up the life of Percy Fawcett. No man could achieve the success, the accomplishment without the support of others. These two, Pattinson and Miller each become the solid strength, the fixed foot, that allows the soul that could not find rest, to search, to achieve, to live until satisfaction settles upon the man and by extension those he loves.

The Lost City of Z is a masterpiece. The direction, the cinematography, each element that aids in building this film becomes impressive. Astonishing, as it unfolds, with the true story an equal element one wonders if he understood the magnitude of his actions as he lived and attained the immortality he sought desperately?

The Lost City of Z is well worth seeing, as the box office can often be jostling with films well deserving being passed by or overlooked by the franchise or special effect razzle dazzle which keeps them in the theaters longer.

The Lost City of Z opens April 14, 2017. See it.

 

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