Based on the best-selling book by the same title, The Lost City of Z deals with the true story of the adventures of British explorer Percy Fawcett (played by Charlie Hunnam) and his repeated quests to discover a lost city of gold deep within the Amazon during the early 1900s.
Initially charged by the Royal Geographic Society to survey the border between Bolivia and Brazil, Fawcett interacts with various native populations and observes their agricultural achievements. After discovering broken pieces of pottery deep in the jungle, he is convinced that his guide’s tale of an undisturbed city of gold is true. This provides Fawcett with a new sense of purpose and leads to additional voyages to the Amazon. These excursions, however, come at a price as Fawcett repeatedly abandons his wife and young children in search of fortune, glory and perhaps most importantly, redemption.
Visually-striking (it was filmed on 35 mm) and reminiscent of Apocalypse Now in both style and tone, The Lost City of Z excels while we are in the jungle. When the action cuts back to England, however, problems arise. Familial issues are resolved quickly and characters, particularly Fawcett’s wife (played by Sienna Miller), are ultimately left underdeveloped. With a running time of two hours and twenty minutes, it still feels as if we’re missing parts of the story. Those familiar with David Grann’s book will notice the significant changes to Fawcett’s character, which may prove too difficult to overlook. Still, it is an interesting film, although one we’ve seen before.