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The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z: A Large-Scale Production that is Larger than Life

  • harlie HunnamRobert Pattinson...
  • Drama
  • James Gray
reviewed by
Marija Djurovic
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The Lost City of Z: A Large-Scale Production that is Larger than Life

The main talking point of the biographical drama, The Lost City of Z, is documenting the true story of a British explorer’s expedition to unravel the mystery of a lost South-American civilisation. Demonstrating a great sense of style, confidence and strength throughout the proceedings, the story is written and directed by Gray; a filmmaker, whose entire career is formed of only five other feature films, including the incredibly underrated thriller, We Own the Night. Albeit being a tad bit too long, The Lost City of Z never falls short of either excitement, or visual aesthetics.

In the year 1905, Percy Fawcett (played by the extremely charismatic Charlie Hunnam) is a British military officer, who, ever since his father’s alcohol addiction managed to run his family’s name into the ground, has been working hard to gain the necessary social status and recognition as a way to repair the damage, as well as provide a better life for his wife, Nina (Miller) and their children. He soon gets his chance when he is approached by the members of the Royal Geographic Society, led by Sir George Goldie (McDiarmid), to travel to South America and map out the official border between Bolivia and Brazil.

Fully aware of the risks involved, Fawcett soon begins a quest, on which he is joined by other explorers as well as friend, Corporal Henry Costin (played by the efficient Pattinson).  Once there, the group finds itself venturing deep into the beautiful but treacherous terrain of the Amazonian jungle. Things take a different course when they stumble upon what Fawcett believes is the proof of a lost civilization, which he soon names ‘The Lost City of Z’.  However, upon his return to England, his discovery is laughed at, so Fawcett, whose obsession with the place begins to grow, soon decides to return to the Amazon in the hopes of bringing proofs that the civilsation, in fact, does exist.

Adapted from the 2009 non-fiction book of the same name written by David Grann, The Lost City of Z offers an epic journey into the hidden world of the Amazonian jungle; covering a lot of grounds, including the wrath of WWI and its consequences; Gray, successfully drives the twenty-year story to its greatest heights, with the same passion and determination of the real Percy Fawcett. But while he manages to keep his eye on the ball for most of the running time, there are moments in the film when it becomes a little difficult to keep track of the story’s whereabouts.

However, the camerawork and the cinematography are remarkable, making the film’s place on the big screen befitting. Equally outstanding is the cast, especially Son of Anarchy star, Charlie Hunnam, who masters the role of the passionate and relentless explorer, who is out to prove what the rest of the world denies.


All in all, The Lost City of Z is a magnificent large-scale production that lives up to its promise.

Like This? Try

Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Apocalypto (2006), Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

360 Tip

Director James Gray wrote to Francis Ford Coppola, who directed Apocalypse Now (1979), asking for advice about shooting in the jungle. Coppola's two-word reply was "Don't go".

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