"To look for that which is beautiful is its own reward. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"
THE LOST CITY OF Z
rated PG-13, 2017, 2 hours 21 minutes
At the beginning of the 20th century, Percy Fawcett leads a mapping mission through Amazonia. Upon reaching the head of the river, he discovers evidence of an ancient civilization. Driven to prove its existence, Fawcett makes several ventures into the jungle - at great personal cost.
James Gray's epic, utterly immersive "The Lost City of Z" is a film for the ages. The filmmaking on display here is beyond confident, beyond measured, beyond belief, really. Every moment of Gray's film shines with talent, whether it's in the frame or out of it.
Charlie Hunnam cements himself as a superb performer here as Percy Fawcett, a man driven - or obsessed - to find something only he believes exists. An exceptional thing about this tale of obsession is how reasonable and logical Fawcett is portrayed as. His search for Z always feels like a normal aspiration, but it's because Hunnam plays it that way. Hunnam keeps the obsession behind Fawcett's eyes, in the back of his mind, at all times. It's simply masterful work from Hunnam.
The rest of the cast is outstanding, including a star turn from Robert Pattinson, playing Fawcett's most trusted colleague on these journeys. Sienna Miller plays Nina Fawcett, Percy's wife, who stayed and raised three children while Percy was in Amazonia. Nina's task took just as much of the metal the Percy's did. Miller is magnetic, more vulnerable than Hunnam, and absolutely electrifying. Tom Holland plays Jack Fawcett, Percy's oldest son, who we see grow from toddler to explorer.
James Gray's direction is profound and visually arresting. It's rare for a film to completely immerse me - but Gray's did. The story of Fawcett is transcendent of cinema, but Gray's immensely skilled direction assures that this will be a lasting portrait of the tale. This is a film experience unlike any other.