Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Lost City of Z [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB () (3 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (A)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB () review
Los Angeles Times (J. Chang) review (M. Zoller Seitz) review
AVClub (I. Vishnevetsky) review

The Lost City of Z [2016] (screenplay and directed by James Gray based on the book [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by David Grann [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb]) while based on a true story is certainly no Raiders of the Lost Ark [1981]

Instead, call it "Downton Abbey [2010-2015] goes to the Jungle" (and perhaps with this film along with the "Dunkirk drama" Their Finest [2017] this sub-genre about _really boring_ "lower born turn of the century British aristocrats" will have finally "jumped the shark"). 

Set in the early 20th Century, the current film is about thoroughly once undistinguished British officer (hence with perhaps "something to prove") turned quite by accident into Amazonian explorer Percival Harrison Fawcett [wikip] (played in the film Charlie Humman): Sent after many years in the career doldrums on a random yet quite dangerous surveying mission (arguably because better connected British officers from more distinguished families didn't want to go ...) to the then uncharted but rubber-rich (and hence disputed) frontier region between Brazil and Bolivia called Acre, he returned with pottery evidence that out there in the jungle had once existed an ancient civilization.  He then becomes obsessed with finding said civilization even though he has difficulty being taken seriously by the quite crusty if very prestigious (they were British you know...) Royal Geographic Society.

Much Downton Abbeyesque only "with flynets" ensued ... Those who like period pieces about the British Empire in the interwar period will probably not find it terrible.  But it is _slow_ ...

ADDENDUM - We Servites (my religious order) actually know something about this region as our Order's probably most famous Mission is located on the Brazilian side of the border in Acre.  And I was actually helped translate a book commissioned by the Brazilian Servites on Amazonia of that region.

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