‘The Lost City of Z’: Where Indiana Jones Meets Jim Elliot

Samuel James | April 27, 2017

The Lost City of Z will cure your everything-is-a-reboot movie blues. This is old-fashioned filmmaking, in the best sense. Writer-director James Gray has made a richly realized movie, soaked with an authentic beauty and quiet thoughtfulness that evokes adventure tales of generations past. What’s more, The Lost City of Z offers a legitimately profound, if incomplete, meditation on desire, sacrifice, and human identity. 

Based on a 2005 book of the same-name, Z tells the true story of British army officer Percy Fawcett (played by Charlie Hunnam). At the dawn of the 20th century, Fawcett is happy but restless, frustrated by his lack of military accolades and ever-declining odds of promotion. He also languishes in the shadow of his deceased father, whose reputation as a notorious alcoholic has cast a pall on Fawcett’s own ambitions. “He has been unfortunate in his choice of ancestors,” one character remarks. But Fawcett receives an unexpected opportunity to undo both of these restraints when the Royal Geographic Society commissions him to explore and map a massive, unknown trail in South America.

The expedition proves to be the turning point in Fawcett’s life. Despite pattacks from natives, illness, and the brutality of the jungle, his trip is a success…

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