There are gaps in everyone’s knowledge, and the same can be said of me when it comes to the early 20th century. I know the exploits of adventurer Ernest Shackleton, but I had never heard of Fawcett, a real life adventurer and contemporary whose exploits make up the subject of The Lost City of Z. With that said, what we are presented with in this film, is a beautiful and remarkably paced film that offers a fascinating take on a little-known part of history.
Based on the thrilling true story of decorated British soldier Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), The Lost City of Z is a remarkable story that falls in the ‘believe it or not’ category, where we follow Fawcett as he embarks on an expedition to find a fabled lost city deep in the jungles of the Amazon.
Time in the jungle is intercut with scenes depicting him trying to rise through the ranks of the high brow English society and endure scenes of war, as well as showing Fawcett as a devoted family man. Hunnam is magnificent in this role, and he isn’t the only one; Sienna Miller who plays his doting wife is just as incredible, with a lot of the film focusing on her struggle at home, looking after young boys during a time where women were seen as less than their male contemporaries.
Tom Holland who plays Fawcett’s son Jack in the later part of the film, is just terrific also, along with all of the actors that play Jack at different parts of the film. It’s particularly good at depicting the passage of time without feeling languid.
I wouldn’t say there is an out and out villain to this story – there are definitely antagonists, namely Harry Melling (Harry Potter‘s Dudley Dursley, all grown up) as the fictional character William Barclay, who I think was more of an amalgamation of characters for the film, and Angus Macfadyen’s bitter James Murray, who turns against Fawcett following his unsuccessful trip to the Amazon with Fawcett and his men.
The film is deliberately paced and you can definitely see that this film is very careful to accurately present the time that it is depicting. James Gray and his creative team have created in my mind a flawless picture, with everyone at the top of their game. Even the supporting cast, lead by Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars saga), are brilliant in excelling their small roles.
All in all, The Lost City of Z fills in some of my gaps in knowledge concerning British history, and does so in an interesting and heartfelt way. Everyone delivers an astonishing and admirable performance; even Robert Pattinson as one of Fawcett’s right hand men Henry Costin owns his role, so far removed from his time as Edward Cullen in The Twilight Saga. It does help that with a big beard, he’s almost unrecognisable from the character he is best known for.
In closing, the film is incredible, the locations are beautiful, and the score is understated yet poignant. In particular, after seeing Hunnam as Fawcett, I realise that he is more than just his action roles in Pacific Rim – this movie is sure to show his talent to a huge audience.
The Lost City of Z hits UK cinemas on 24 March 2017.
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