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The Lost City of Z
James Gray’s adaptation of British explorer Percival Fawcett’s remarkable true story is almost as romantic as it gets. There’s a love of adventure, a love of discovery, a love of the previously unexplored Amazon, a love of history and nature and, in some cases, our fellow man. The Cinematography is deliberately gorgeous, the costumes and lighting are, too. But, for all its classical strengths, this global drama felt to me, at times, a little too flat.
Charlie Hunnam, best known for TV’s Sons of Anarchy and star of the upcoming King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, makes an impressive turn as the determined voyager. Tom Holland (Spiderman) and an almost unrecognizable Robert Pattinson are very fine in support of the scientist who discovers a long forgotten civilization. But while much time is spent on the gritty particulars of the trips to the unknown (romantic, again, in its love of process), we almost feel rushed once Fawcett and his team meet their goal. Perhaps I might have felt more involved had we all been able to experience the other worldly rewards of the adventure as much as we had the nasty bugs, political infighting and London-based distain for ‘savages’.
There is one side story, though, that is fascinating, even as much of a side story as it is. Nina Fawcett, Percival’s wife, was a pretty outstanding character on her own, an early (turn of the 20th Century) feminist, activist and believer in her husband’s quest. Gray allows us to not only see her strength and sacrifice, but, as interpreted by the terrific Sienna Miller, fall under her impressive spell, too.