At the dawn of the 20th Century there was still much of the world left to be discovered. Even to this day there remains tales of mysterious lands untouched by modern man like the lost city of Atlantis or the golden streets of El Dorado. They’re tales that call out to the adventurer in all of us. The Lost City of Z is another such tale of exploration, although I fear it wanders around the Amazon jungle for far too long before it finds anything of substance.
Based upon the real adventurer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), The Lost City of Z tells the story of his travels deep within the Amazon in search of an advanced civilization that has been lost with time. Despite being ridiculed and rejected by his compatriots, Fawcett funds multiple expeditions out into the dangerous wilds just so he can prove everyone wrong and show that the so-called “savages” that live out in the forest may actually be more civilized than they thought. All sorts of dangers lurk within the jungle, and one misstep could easily prove to be fatal.
Charlie Hunnam hikes up his explorers boots alongside an unrecognizable Robert Pattinson as the two make multiple trips to the Amazon. They’re explorers at heart who are better suited in the sweltering heat of the jungle than the comfy confines of the city, going so far as to leave their families and friends behind. They seek adventure and discovery. My only wish is that I had the same eagerness and excitement in my eyes about it as they do.
The Lost City of Z is two and a half hours of people traveling through the Amazon jungle with little discovery. I wanted to like the film more but the pace is slower than their journey. They first expedition is great, but I lost interest with each subsequent one. Even though they’re getting closer and closer to this so-called lost city, I couldn’t help but feel like it was no different than the last. Finally Fawcett’s son Jack (Tom Holland) becomes old enough to join him, which is a nice change of pace. But by that time the film is almost over, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open.
There is a lot to unpack with the film. I enjoyed Charlie Hunnam’s character and his struggles with balancing a life of adventure and being a father and husband. I do wish there was more variety in his jungle explorations, however. There’s also a segment late in the film in which he serves in the British Army during World War I. It feels strangely out of place and shoehorned into the story. The film could have benefited dearly from a more sharpened focus.
The Lost City of Z has some good ideas and performances, but a slow and scattered story makes it more exhausting than exciting to watch. It’s just one of those cases where the real life story is just far more interesting than its Hollywood counterpart.