© Keep Your Head, MICA Entertainment, MadRiver Pictures, Plan B Entertainment, Sierra/Affinity

Die Versunkene Stadt Z (The Lost City of Z)
U.S.A. 2016

Opening 30 Mar 2017

Directed by: James Gray
Writing credits: James Gray
Principal actors: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Angus Macfayden, Edward Ashley

This biographical film attests to Lt. Col. Percy Fawcett – adventurer and explorer extraordinaire – living his life to the fullest. Based on David Grann’s 2009 non-fiction book, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon, Perry’s quest became his destiny: finding a mythical Amazonian city. In 1906, Major Fawcett (Hunnam) is ordered to London for a meeting. The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) proposes a cartography proposition advantageous to all parties. Aboard ship, Fawcett meets his aide-de-camp Henry Costin (Pattinson – rid of vampires, he repeatedly proves his dramatic mettle); “our lives depend on each other.” Upon returning, fellow RGS members ridicule Fawcett’s theory about a lost civilization he calls “Z.” In 1912, Fawcett returns to unchartered Amazonian jungle in company of explorer James Murray (Macfadyen). Parallel action maps Fawcett’s personal life: The supportive, vivacious Nina (Miller) encourages, and raises their children while suppressing her dreams. World War l intervenes; consequently, the family seeks anonymity. The hiatus is interrupted by Jack (Tom Holland) setting off a chain of events culminating with Percy and his son’s 1925 expedition.

While researching another book, David Grann stumbled across Percy Fawcett’s name and was mesmerized by his story. Obviously, director–screenwriter James Gray is too, which is his nemesis. Gray’s unfocused, prolonged approach delivers equal doses of solider, explorer, family man that editors John Axelrad and Lee Haugen routinely stitch together. Darius Khondji’s cinematography captures the natural splendors where it is filmed – Northern Ireland and Columbia, South America, that the strong cast encapsulates, and Christopher Spelman’s expressive music compliments. Elements of adventurism captivate and hold our attention, even if we never quite arrive where we think we are heading. 140 minutes (Marinell Haegelin)

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