The Lost City of Z features Charlie Hunnam’s best film performance to date. That might sound like faint praise – especially after the excess of King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – but there’s not a trace of Jax Teller in his portrayal of real-life British Army Colonel turned Amazon explorer, Percy Fawcett. He gets to keeps his English accent – and his shirt on for the entire running time!
Fawcett’s adventure begins in the early 1900s on a border mapping mission to the Bolivian Amazon, where he discovers evidence of a lost civilisation hidden deep within the rainforest. This two year assignment turns into a lifelong obsession, and despite the dangers that come with the territory (tribal hostility and a bit of Cannibal Holocaust nastiness) and a recall to duty during World War I, Fawcett returns to search for the lost city of Z (Zed in the film, but Zee has more of a ring to it), spurred on by the discovery of Machu Picchu in 1911.
Director James Gray, best known for his urban dramas The Yards and We Own the Night, is more at home on the streets of New York, and this ambitious adaptation of David Grann’s non-fiction best-seller never manages to capture the excitement and intrigue of Fawcett’s story.
Alternating between period drama and jungle adventure, and with decades to cover at a rather sluggish pace, The Lost City of Z is dreamily captivating but frequently patience-testing. Audiences could find themselves catching up on some lost Zzzzs.
In cinemas: August 24, 2017
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland
Directed by: James Gray