(director/writer: James Gray; screenwriter: based on the non-fiction book by David Grann; cinematographer: Darius Khondji; editors: John Axelrad, Lee Haugen; music: Christopher Spelman; cast: Charlie Hunnam ( Col. Percy Fawcett), Sienna Miller (Nina Fawcett), Tom Holland (Jack Fawcett), Robert Pattinson (Henry Costin), Angus MacFadyen (James Murray), Edward Ashley (Arthur Manley), Clive Francis (Sir John Scott Keltie), Ian McDiarmid (Sir George Goldie), Franco Nero (Baron De Gondoriz), Matthew Sunderland (Dan), Johann Myers (Willis), Pedro Coello (Tadjui), Daniel Huttlestone (Brian Fawcett -15 Yr Old), Harry Melling (William Barclay); Runtime: 140; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Anthony Katagas, James Gray, Dale Armin Johnson; Amazon Sudios; 2016)

The critique of England’s patronizing imperialism is right on.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The talented native NYC filmmaker James Gray (“The Yards”/”Two Lovers”) goes out of his city element to film this old-fashioned British adventure story in the South American jungle. He tells the true story of British soldier/explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam). The Lost City of Z is set in Ireland, England and the Amazonian jungle at the start of the 20th Century. The ambitious soldier was recruited in 1906 by the aristocratic Royal Geographical Society to map the uncharted wild region of eastern Bolivia, where it borders with Brazil. While moving through the dense South American rain forest with his Army aides, Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) and Arthur Manley (Edward Ashley), plus his native guides and porters, he discovers what he thinks is a lost civilization by the source of the Rio Verde River. He finds hidden in the forest tribal pottery and carvings, and becomes obsessed with finding the ancient city and long-lost civilization that produced such craft and must be hidden somewhere in the dense forest. When back home, the driven Fawcett studies anthropology and goes on a trying second expedition in 1911. This time accompanied by the scornful explorer James Murray (Angus Macfadyen), who puts him danger before he returns home.On his doomed third expedition to the jungle in 1925 his eldest son Jack (Tom Holland) joins him; they mysteriously were never heard from again.It’s based on the 2009 non-fiction bestseller by David Grann. The critique of England’s patronizing imperialism is right on, as it details the racist attitude of Britain’s science community toward the natives. Gray has made a tremendous film that matches in intensity the striking Werner Herzog films “Aguirre, the Wrath of God” and “Fitzcarraldo.”

REVIEWED ON 1/1/2018 GRADE: A-    https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/