Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars
Bottom Line: A little too all over the place, but with some terrific scenes. Plus, it’s a true-ish story.
“The Lost City of Z” is one of those movies that I’m not sure translated well from the book to the screen. Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) is an interesting character and his life is certainly worth reading about, but it was also very chaotic and jumps from continent to continent so much that scales of time and distance seem lost when on the screen. The movie does a fairly decent job of managing this sprawling story, but I can’t help think it would have made a better mini-series than movie, especially when episodes like World War I seem kind of superfluous to the main story.
Percy Fawcett is a man of contradictions. He is driven and dedicated, ambitious and more than a little arrogant. He dedicated his life to finding a lost city in the Amazon and trying to convince the mighty British Empire that the native Amazonians are not the savages his peers claim them to be. But his wife, oh, she belongs in the home barefoot and pregnant and tending to however many broodlings he manages to pump into her during his sparse visits home. It is safe to say that Mr. Fawcett is slightly more enlightened than his contemporaries. Baby steps.
There are some wonderful scenes in this movie, the best of which is when Fawcett is trying to convince the Royal Geographic Society to fund his trip to find his lost city. It reminds you of just how weird the British Parliamentary system is. Another is when his wife is trying to convince him to let her go back to South America with him next time. But they are interspersed within a lot of views of traveling down a river or mini-National Geographic specials as they interact with native villages. All of this adds to the uneven feel of the movie.
So is this movie worth watching? Maybe? I’d say as a movie for sheer entertainment, no. But as a historical drama delving into the goings on and mores of early 20th century Great Britain, the movie has a lot to offer and it certainly piqued my interest in reading more about Percy Fawcett.