The Lost City of Z | Jungle fever: Charlie Hunnam embarks on an obsessive quest

The Lost City of Z Charlie Hunnam

In 1925, Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon in search of a myth. What he discovered became legendary.

Based on the nonfiction book by David Grann, epic tale of adventure and obsession The Lost City of Z tells the true story of early-20th-century English explorer Percy Fawcett, who defied perils in the jungle and sneers at home in his quest to prove the existence of a lost city deep in Amazonia.

Charlie Hunnam, uncomfortable as a Mockney King Arthur for Guy Ritchie, is much more convincing here, his Fawcett embodying doughty Edwardian pluck and endurance as he braves killer piranhas, dangerous rapids and the poison darts of cannibal tribesmen, not to mention the derision of the British scientific establishment, which cannot accept his theory that the Amazon jungle was home to an advanced civilisation.

There’s a touch of Lawrence of Arabia about Hunnam’s Fawcett, another outsider with respect for native peoples, and a touch too of the obsessive protagonists of Werner Herzog’s South American epics Aguirre, Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo. Hunnam gets fine support from Sienna Miller as Fawcett’s wife, torn between sympathy and anxiety, and from a magnificently bearded Robert Pattison as Fawcett’s aide-de-camp, and Tom Holland as his eldest son.

At the helm, writer-director James Gray, more familiar for his Brooklyn-set crime movies Little Odessa, The Yards and We Own the Night, handles his exotic period settings with classical assurance, while Darius Khondji’s glorious photography captures the jungle’s beauty and mystery.

Certificate 15. Runtime 141 mins. Director James Gray

The Lost City of Z is available on Blu-ray & DVD from 24 July from StudioCanal.

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