Synopsis: A tru-life life story during the 1920’s depicting explorer, Col. Percival Fawcett, during his search for a mysterious Amazonian lost city.
Thoughts: ZZzz… Zzzz..zzzz. Potential wasted. The buck stops at feminism.
Conclusion: 2/5 buckets of popcorn
After a strong but uncelebrated career in the military Col. Percival Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, finds himself living in the shadow of his farther who shamed the good family name. With no military medals and no way to breach the inner circle due to daddy issues, Fawcett grows frustrated with his status. Fortunately, not too long after a successful hunting party, Fawcett is presented with the opportunity to explore South America. Initially, Fawcett is reluctant but is persuaded otherwise as it his only career opportunity. So Fawcett hires Henry Cost, played by Robert Pattinson, and off they go.
While in Bolivia Fawcett and crew quickly learn not only are they in danger from the unfriendly environment, but the locals are not fond of men similar to their colonizers and enslavers exploring their home. Regardless, Fawcett and crew complete their mission and return with evidence suggesting a undiscovered ancient Amazonian civilization, the lost city of “Zed”. After much debate, Fawcett returns with his crew to the Amazon wiser, rejuvenated, and hauling a major pain in the ass. The pain in the ass aka James Murray, played by Angus Macfadyen, decided to join the second expedition believing his exploring experience in his former years would prove beneficial. However, all Murray managed to do was spoil the second expedition. With World War I and many years behind him, Fawcett is later convinced to investigate Bolivia once more by his eldest son Jack Fawcett, played by Tom Holland, as Jack is sure they will discover the mysterious lost city that has escaped his father for so many years.
Sadly, the father and son duo never returned from their journey.
I know, right? What an adventurous life this man lived. Sadly, this film has no adventure in it. Adventure implies their will be thrills, suspense, and excitement. This film was simply a journey. No, I was not expecting Indiana Jones style chase sequences with a cute Short Round-esque kid tagging along but come on! Audiences were robbed of a thrill when the explorers managed to escape spear throwing invisible Bolivians seamlessly camouflaged, because the assured nature of the Fawcett shows us nothing detrimental will happen. Even when our main characters faces situations of the up most danger, the films once again allows the confidence of Fawcett to tranquilize any suspense. Hence, ZZzz… Zzzz..zzzz
Another group on a journey would be the audience who braved a film with lento pacing the director is clearly unapologetic about. Admittedly, I have no problem with with the pace. I love a lento style film. In fact, I will watch Cold Mountain or The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Redford any damn day of the week. Sign me up. I love it. But that’s because these films have undeniable characters who are revetting to watch, no matter if they’re having a ten minute conversation…. in the middle of wheat field…. with a two shot and no cut aways… nor additional coverage… or if they’re in the middle of a shoot out. Unfortunately, The Lost City of Z fails to produce dynamic characters. I blame these one dimensional characters on a humdrum script penned by its director, not the actors.
In fact, all the supporting actors did a solid job with what’s given. Pattinson always delivers a strong supporting performance, but I wish his character was given more to work with. Why couldn’t he just be a drunk, maybe a trigger happy jerk killing locals, or even be pro-slavery? Basically something rememberable attributing to the nature of the character other than a gigantic beard. Sienna Miller, who plays Nina Fawcett, did the best she could. It’s clear she signed on the movie because there’s a OSCAR-bait scene, but even that scene is reaching for what isn’t quite there. All in all, talent can only do so much when given basic characters from a flat screenplay. Everyone’s potential was wasted except for Hunnan who has delivered his most nuanced performance to date.
So just to be clear, civilization was more than likely not helmed from almighty caucasian males, but instead people of color is completely conceivable for Fawcett. If it were during modern times, we’d all witness Fawcett’s Facebook rants regarding the issue. But! God forbid your wife wanting to join you with your most important life’s work. Guess this progressive white man’s buck had to stop some where. It stops at the doorstep of feminism. When Nina stated that she wanted to join her husband, Fawcett spoke to his wife as she had somehow foolishly allowed herself to succumb to that pesky female hysteria that plagues women on a monthly basis, and after a stern talking to she would see the error in her judgment as her womanly duty permanently binds her to the house. It was disappointing to see Fawcett, such an open minded man, demanding his wife stay in the kitchen while he gallivants around the world.
The film is good for what is it. As an audience member you will witness beautiful cinematography, Hunnam’s best performance to date, and a story about a man that accomplished the unthinkable. However, be prepared for a movie that hits a lull about fifteen minutes in with no major thrills remaining.
What say you?