Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus Macfadyen
Directed By: James Gray
Plot: Major Percy Fawcett (Hunnam) is sent on a mapping expedition to South America, but becomes obsessed with finding the lost city of Z. World War I happens, and years go by, but his desire to find this city consumes him.
What Works: The acting here is really good. Robert Pattinson is unrecognizable, and very good. Charlie Hunnam is also really good. It was nice to see Tom Holland pop up in the third act. I had forgotten he was in this. In no way do I believe Charlie Hunnam could be his father, but it was still nice to see him. It’s a film that’s too long, but I still thin it’s written well. There are just too many scenes. I think the concept and general structure is fine, but they just couldn’t figure out how to cut out “non-essential” scenes. There are some really beautiful shots in here. Great camera work. Also, I have to point out the really good costume design.
What Doesn’t Work: It’s too long. The film meanders at times. He goes back and forth and back and forth. There are padded scenes to remind us that he has a family, or that there’s a brotherhood among soldiers. Things that don’t really connect to our core story, or our main characters drive to find the lost city of Z. While the film pads with unnecessary scenes, it then decides to breeze over his injuries. At one time, he’s potentially crippled for life, and in the next scene… he’s fine. Time just passed, and everything is hunky dory. Wait, what? You spend so much time on other crap, but you won’t give us one scene with him struggling to get better? This film is about Hunnam’s character, and that could have been something vital to his arc an progression, and we just breezed right over it.
Final Word: I think this could have been a better film if James Gray had been willing to trim it doen a bit. I get that he feels that every scene he wrote and shot is vital, but it really isn’t. It causes the film to wander away from its core idea, and pulls Hunnam’s character away from his main goal. It’s like if Indiana Jones had a bunch of random scenes with his family, or reading more books, or teaching classes. That would have bored audiences to tears. I’ll be honest and say, I struggled to remain interested at times.
Final Grade: B-