In 1906, British Colonel Percy Fawcett was sent to the Amazon to map the border between Brazil and Bolivia. On the spot, the explorer discovers traces of what he thinks is a very old lost city. This quest will obsess him all his life. In May 1925, after many expeditions, the English explorer Percy Fawcett vanished into the Amazon jungle. Jack, his eldest son, and Raleigh Rimell, his best friend, disappeared with him.
To date, there is no certainty as to the exact fate of the three men. However, in his 2009 book, The Lost City of Z, American journalist David Grann proposed a plausible theory, in addition to providing a detailed account of Fawcett's exploits, which proved the existence of long ago Of an advanced civilization in the heart of the Amazon. The book inspired a film of the same name, "Z" being the nickname that Fawcett had given to his Eldorado.
As soon as the first images, a sequence of hunting to run, one knows in the presence of a sumptuous work. This is not surprising, despite a budget of $ 30 million, a copious but almost derisory amount for this type of productions commanding an epic frame. And it is not to mention the financial imperatives of the historical reconstruction that we have before us, opulent without being ostentatious.
No surprise in front of this superb bill, therefore, since it is James Gray who directed The Lost City of Z, in addition to signing the scenario. One of the most talented filmmakers of his generation, Gray, 48, has made his mark with almost all his films Little Odessa, The Yards and We Own the Night, and Two Lovers, splendid criminal ruminations, then sentimental, respectively. To these contemporary narratives succeeded, a chronicle taking place in the New York of the 1920s inspired by the history of the author's grandparents.
If the Lost City of Z sees him revisiting the same historical period, the film nevertheless marks an important turning point in his career. Indeed, it is the first time that it leaves New York and its surroundings for the benefit of England, Bolivia and Brazil.
However, the protagonist of his most recent opus is typical of his cinema. Ridiculed in his time by his peers, Percy Fawcett maintained the course despite the increasing marginality towards which it was pushed. In this, he is not very far from the anti-heroes of the first three films of Gray, all pariahs within their families.
Darkly elegant, The Lost City of Z is the film's most captivating film from a strictly aesthetic point of view. Whether it is confined to starched interiors or unfolds in an infinite verdure, its staging multiplies the abundant pictures, which are magnified by the exquisite light of Darius Khondji (Delicatessen, Love). The intrigue, exciting, is not left out.
Charlie Hunnam (Crimson Peak) embodies Fawcett with conviction, while Sienna Miller (American Sniper) shines as a patient wife, but who does not hesitate to place her husband before his contradictions, who preaches respect for the so-called savage peoples while the notion of equality between men and women escapes him completely.
Indiana Jones without the supernatural, Fitzcarraldo without the madness, The Lost City of Z haunts and dazzles. Of course, the memory of Fitzcarraldo emerges. That of Apocalypse. Now also. And even, in a way, that of the Mission. But the approach that James Gray takes has still something much more stripped.
The director of Two Lovers and The Immigrant, whom we could never have suspected of wanting to dive into a project of this nature, is engulfed in the Amazonian jungle and reveals its hypnotic, captivating nature, Recently made the Colombian filmmaker Ciro Guerra with The Footprint of the Snake. As a result, the characters become almost secondary in this story, even if the filmmaker, who here draws a script from the novel by David Grann, puts forward the obsessive quest of a man whose claims have never been taken Seriously during his lifetime.
Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson (unrecognizable) and Sienna Miller perform well, but the real stars of the film are Darius Khondji, the director of photography, and James Gray, who takes us on a real cinematic adventure.