Reading Robbie Collin‘s recent pronouncement that The Lost City of Z (Amazon/Bleecker, 4.14) is an “instant classic” really rankled my ass. It’s a slow, tension-free dirge — a film that inspires thoughts of escape with the first 30 minutes — with a dead-fish lead performance by Charlie Hunnam. Beware of the James Gray cabal! — they live in a different world than you or I.
From my 12.22.16 review: Around the 25-minute mark I was starting to feel concerned about how much longer The Lost City of Z would last. I looked at my watch…Jesus God, almost another two hours!
“I was sitting in a rear-center seat in Alice Tully Hall, and for some wimpish reason I didn’t want to get up and risk stepping on 15 or 16 pairs of feet on the way out so I figured, ‘Stop it…be a man and stick this out…you can do it.’
“I made it to the end but it was brutal, dawg. By the time The Lost City of Z I had concluded that I really, really don’t want to watch another movie with Charlie Hunnam in the lead.
“Lt. Colonel Percy Fawcett (1867 – 1925) was an obsessive who wound up tramping through the Brazilian jungle on seven different expeditions in order to find remnants of a gleaming lost civilization. The Lost City of Z is about Fawcett’s numerous jungle explorations, which began in ’06 and ended after the final trek, which happened in late May of 1925.
“I’ve never watched a film about exploring exotic realms that has had less energy, less excitement, less of a pulse. I was just watching the damn thing and hoping against hope that Hunnam would be killed by a native spear or a wild animal or by falling off a cliff into raging rapids. I knew he wouldn’t die until the end of the film, but I wanted blood all the same. I started imagining ways to kill him. Anything to take my mind off the film.
“Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman has called Gray’s film ‘Apocalypse Now meets Masterpiece Theatre,’ except there’s no Kurtz and certainly no payoff at the end. It’s not exactly torture to sit through, but it’s pretty close to that.
“Gray’s film is based upon a 2009 book of the same name by David Grann. Maybe that’s the best way to go — read Grann’s book and then wade through the film. All I can say for sure is that I was dead fucking bored.”