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The Lost City of Z Movie Review (2016) | The Pursuit of a Dream

The Lost City of Z movie is a beautiful dramatic biopic of an explorer churned between his family, war and his dream to find an ancient lost city in the Amazon. It might have been a failed expedition in actuality but it never was any less than an intense elusive dream of Col. Percival Fawcett who never for a second doubted his resolve, and more importantly never gave up. He spent his whole life visiting and revisiting Amazon with a dogged persistence to discover what he had accidentally come across – remnants of a lost civilization.

In order to truly understand the obsession of Fawcett with the jungle, you have to first try to get into his boots. You have to understand the import of being an explorer. You have to think like one. Back in the days when there were territories yet to be explored, uncharted regions on the map yet to be mapped, finding a city or archaeological evidence used to be huge. Today it might not seem much since man has scathed every corner of the earth, and there is all this technology around waiting for us to get things done. There’s Google now! But at a time when Fawcett breathed in, there wasn’t much to support him in his manual scavenge.

Uncharted Land

The biggest truth of visiting a new place is that you are absolutely unsure of what is going to happen, or what perils you might face. That too if you are barging into a place where people do not speak your language and consider your cultural and physical differences as a sign of intrusion, it is hard as hell to find your place. There’s a scene in the The Lost City of Z movie where Fawcett and his crew are trying to explore Amazon, and end up being attacked by a tribe for trespassing. You could only imagine how difficult it is to wade through such live dangers.

To look for what is beautiful is its own reward.

Fawcett was a brave man. His obsession was a result of an unfulfilled desire. Having come so close to finding a city that he had seen proofs of existence about, it started taking its toll on him. He ended up dedicating his whole life in search of the unexplored and disappeared into the unknown with his son. He had a purpose hidden for him in the forest and if you ask me it was a life well-lived, in search of something, because half of the time we are hesitantly rambling on without a fixed purpose, and many times it turns out there is nothing really we are looking for.

About the Plot of The Lost City of Z Movie (Spoilers)

The Lost City of Z movie takes its montage from the real life of Percy Fawcett (played exceptionally well by Charlie Hunnam) as researched and written by David Grann in his book. It is a story about Fawcett’s life of the times he went out for exploration leaving his wife to take care of the children, of his newly found obsession with a supposed city in the forest, his confrontations with the Indians on his way, and then with his family on numerous occasions, his reconciliation with his son and then his final voyage into the unknown.

James Gray directs the movie beautifully capturing every minutia of his life giving apt focus to everything precarious in his sojourn. His best frames linger even during fuming conversations between Percy and his wife Nina (Sienna Miller), as she tries to find herself some time with her husband. The screenplay is absolutely brilliant and his further embellished by the poems Nina writes for her husband. They are all very powerful and insightful.

Colossal Sacrifices

The sacrifices Nina make just so that her husband Percy could go out and pursue his dream are worth an ovation. It is no simple feat and she should be remembered and honored for her patience and sacrifice the way the world today remembers Percy Fawcett for his city of Z.

Don’t go. He (Jack) will not know you when you return.

There are some powerful and dramatic bits lodged in conversations between Percy and his son Jack (Tom Holland) too. James Gray doesn’t compromise anywhere while narrating this tale keeping everything at the same pace throughout. There is ample drama for any drama lover in The Lost City of Z movie to take the monotony away.

RGS Meetings

There was a meeting with Royal Geographical Society where Percy tries to convince them of the existence of a lost city. That part is brimming with energy, as it lets us know what RGS is all about. It is apparent that RGS is a body that creates some of the best meetings ever. The RGS is abounding with allegations then and there, support whenever or whoever deems it necessary, and it could come from even a single person and be backed on the grounds of impactful points. It almost makes you feel why can’t every meeting in the world be as dynamic as RGS’s. It will open playgrounds of innovation. Exceptional stuff!

Their civilization may well predate our own. I call it Z. The ultimate piece of human puzzle. It is there and we must find it.

Henry Costin (Robert Pattinson) the explorer, is a pleasant company to have around. Fawcett trusts him beyond limit, and he proves so on so many occasions. But when his final expedition comes along, Costin decides to stay at home. It was a matter of personal choice, and despite there was a madding sense of discovery in Percy Fawcett’s head, Costin wasn’t as enthusiastic given the failures they had met in the past. Then again your mind wanders as to what if Costin had said yes to the final journey. Maybe something different might have happened with his presence, or maybe he would have disappeared too.

James Murray

Expeditions and Explorations always have someone to slow the zealous down. It holds true even in our life. If you are burning with fervour for something, and you are trying to shoot for the moon, there will always be something or someone trying to slow you down or make sure you don’t get there. James Murray was one such element in his story. He single-handedly destroyed an expedition that could have unfolded into something tangible. He was dead weight they were carrying around for the sake of humanity. It infuriates you to see him trying to bring everyone down.

The anger and the frustration you could read on Percy’s face is undoubtedly obvious. And yet he does the right thing by sending him off to survive on his own, so as to not jeopardize the welfare of his crew. But Murray played convincingly well by Angus Macfadyen, being the serpent he was, stings him in return after reuniting with RGS. With Percy refusing to apologize to him and quitting RGS in the process, you could smell justice being served on a silver platter.

You can order The Lost City of Z movie from here:

James Gray’s Version of the Ending

Percy and Jack never returned from their final expedition in the Amazon. Whilst there are hundreds of speculations about the fate they might have encountered, we have our very own James Gray’s version of the ending. While it is a hopeful end to slyly show them being held captive by a tribe that offers them something to drink, after which they are shown being lifted towards some hazy place, it would break your heart to think about the reality. Their end could have been much more painful or maybe they were held captive and never allowed to leave for the intrusion. It only disheartens you to think what could have happened to the father-son duo.

It is as if Fawcett’s life’s a book that doesn’t pan out in a happy ending. But the paragon of hopeful perseverance stays Percy’s wife Nina, who spends the rest of her life waiting, never for once giving up the idea of them being okay. We get to see her trying her level best to make Sir John Scott Keltie (Clive Francis) understand that her husband and son are alright. She even presents him with a compass Fawcett had promised to send if he found the city. It is suggestive that he did.

The final scene shows her reflection disappearing into the woods which is one stunning way of using the figurative to tell the spectators that her thoughts forever stayed with the jungle. And that later she went on an expedition of her own to search for her husband and her son. She spent the rest of her life in the forest with undying hope. That’s one of the most crushing things you will see. Her hopeful words in the end will rend your heart into pieces.

All the Bitterness

One might say it was foolish of him to go and to take his son along with him on his insane expedition. It was beyond stupidity to follow a dead dream that could have been a mere dud or a product of simply overthinking. But you have to understand the vision Percy Fawcett carried throughout his life. It was a taste of fame and the thought of acquiring something elusive and holding it between his hands. It was also a tad about resuscitating his family name.

still of Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett in The Lost City of Z movie

Even when he is in the midst of a war, and he is defamed to have failed twice in his attempt to find his lost city of Z, all he could think about was being surrounded by trees, surviving in the lap of nature. The vision that he sees of himself, in an image to settle his unrest, is literally calling him out to step out into the Amazon once again. It is as if the mysteries of the unknown beckoned him to pursue the one thing that he enjoyed doing the most.

I am here to attempt great things.

It was dangerous nevertheless, and with their final fate, it becomes almost indispensable to not let go of the bitter thought. But when you wear the shoes of Fawcett and try to relive his verve for exploration, you will realize that sitting and doing nothing about it would have hurt more.

The Final Verdict

Percy Fawecett’s life was a life spent in pursuit of something elusive, which could have been a dud shot, as many would argue, but it was more than that for the man himself. A guy with a dream, a purpose and an expectant gusto to get there.

Isn’t that the way everyone should live?

The Lost City of Z movie is capable of bringing clouds of thoughts over your head. After watching it, you can’t help but speculate about the ending the Fawcetts might have met. It takes your heart towards the family he left at home that sometimes failed to understand the vision of an obsessive man. It is so sad and at the same time so powerful that any sane man could melt.

The Lost City of Z movie makes you conjecture theories to satiate the tale of the lost men. At the same time, it makes you want to reflect his fixation with your very own dream, and whether or not it would be a good idea to spend a life trying or simply sit at home and do nothing about.

BTW Charlie Hunnam is on a roll, always in the news – a wink at King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

You can check out the trailer of The Lost City of Z movie here:

King Arthur Legend of the Sword Review (2017) | Choose to Take Away the Music

We were up for a bumpy ride already when we had discovered it was none other Guy Ritchie directing King Arthur Legend of the Sword movie. It would be safe to say that the flick has been Ritchie-fied enough, coz it has that tinge of Guy Ritchie effect that we have always thoroughly enjoyed. However, in delivering King Arthur to us, by passing it through the anvil of his eccentricity, the importance of the legend ends up getting ruffled, shaken up so much that it ends up becoming a gaudy affair.

The problem with King Arthur Legend of the Sword is that it is too fast-paced. So much that you wish there was a pause button for the big screen. Such pace isn’t really healthy if there’s a tale to be told. Legends work out great when there’s proper focus, when you are feeling every modicum of the thrill, and most importantly relating to stuff. Sadly with Ritchie behind the camera, it becomes hard to fill in the shoes of Arthur. You can hardly manage to relate to the actor, and whatever he does.

Despite that, there are so many other factors to consider here, for example, the extraordinary music composed by Daniel Pemberton that elevates the movie altogether. You go home with something at least, if not with that smug smile of satisfaction, then at least contented with that stunning outstanding score by Pemberton.

Direction of King Arthur (Spoilers)

Guy Ritchie thinks different. He isn’t the crowd. That’s one of the most crucial virtues he retains. To experiment every now and then, to come up with better shots, better ways of storytelling, and pulling off unusual stunts are things he just loves to do. I particularly love the way he edits his frames for humour. There is always a story being narrated in his flicks and it’s fun to catch up with what is going on.

But you take in too much of his style, you suddenly begin to see through his pattern. It is his regular mannerism of doing things. Like how a different frame starts, frames before the earlier scene is packed up. He does that too much in King Arthur Legend of the Sword, and it becomes outright absurd at one point.

Even normal collisions end up becoming too much layered up with visual effects. Generally, the boss fights are supposed to uplift the whole flick. But here the ending is more about visual effects than the actual fight. The worst thing is that you have to figure out that the sword could depict the future too. It’s hard to contain yourself from blurting out: “Really?”

still from king arthur legend of the sword movie

Choosing to show clashes with Excalibur in bullet time seemed plain stupid. Even though it is abounding with theatrics there, it doesn’t seem quite right. It almost meant any man with the sword could do it if he was connected to it with blood. Also, it sucks out the joy we expect in a punishing fight. It’s as if The Flash came out of nowhere and ended the war. So not cool!

Jude Law as Vortigern

Probably one of the best things in King Arthur Legend of the Sword is Jude Law. Not only is his acting top-notch, his role as the arrogant King Uncle is befitting as well. With Guy Ritchie providing him with some of the best theatrics ever, his perversion becomes insanely amplified altogether.

His Vortigern is a revolt for Hollywood that has produced cruel kings who are smug, stylish and outrageously wicked. He is the finest one of them all, and you can see that through via the confidence he brings to his act.

Watching him walking down in tears to sacrifice his own blood for power puts you in a strange sense of disposition. At one point he even cuts an ear off of Back Lack and speaks inside it for him to hear. Talk about badassery! Then there is that “walking down to meet the people”, style is written all over him.

You can order King Arthur Legend of the Sword from here:

Charlie Hunnam as Arthur

While this project saw a lot of casting choices, the decision to put Charlie Hunnam in the frontline wasn’t that bad after all. As an actor he is great, and he does enough justice to King Arthur. With a physique of a legendary hero wielding the Excalibur makes things a whole lot legendary.

Unfortunately, in the long line of memorable heroes, he ends up becoming a tad forgettable. And it’s not his fault at all. There wasn’t enough drama in the tale to actually feel for the protagonist. There wasn’t a proper pause so that you could really read his thoughts, and empathize with what he might be going through. I think it is quite bad for an actor to be forgotten when he is playing the lead role.

The Mage

The idea to turn the movie into a surreal magical phenomenon might not have sieved in and played well with the multitude. Well, even though magic is supposed to make things better, somehow the inclusion of the storyline about “mages” aren’t used aplenty. Their justification happens with the sword being magical, and that’s the sole purpose of them being there.

With The Mage played by Astrid Berges-Frisby trying to help Arthur in many ways, her inclusion ends up becoming the most dispensable thing in the flick. It’s almost as if she was only created out of thin air, just so as to stretch the movie for a plot. Whilst there wasn’t a single bit of romance lurking anywhere, her presence is strangely disappointing. We could have used her powers in so many ways, and yet all we did was to pull out a cheap magic trick for a cheap thrill.

Other Characters

A lot of characters are created alongside King Arthur by supporting actors like Djimon Honsou, Aidan Gillen, Kingsley Ben-Adir, Freddie Fox, Tom Wu, Michael McElhatton, Rob Knighton and Neil Maskell. With Aidan Gillen’s character Bill being good with the bow, you might remember him the most from all of the above. And maybe Neil’s Back Lack owing to that short father-son moment with Blue which is strangely poignant. The rest of the cast seem like a dispensable affair that was overlooked big time owing to shoehorning characters.

Eric Bana is in there, making a short stint as the father of King Arthur. He plays Uther and his cameo is as small as that of Igraine (Poppy Delevingne), Maggie (Annabelle Wallis), Elsa (Katie McGrath) and Catia (Millie Brady).

Can we even blame editing enough?

Au contraire, there’s a cameo of David Beckham that’s just hard to miss.

Ravishing Music

One of the best things about the movie is hands down its music. Daniel Pemberton…Ladies and gentlemen! If you never heard that name before time to put him on your top composers list. The chap’s a Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated hero in the backdrop. He will set you up in the right mood with some deafening relentless composition. It’s so brilliantly done for the movie that I have put him on my playlist. He is really that good!

He will set you up in the right mood with some deafening relentless composition. It’s so brilliantly done for the movie that I have put him on my playlist as well. He is really that good!

I loved Growing Up Londinium, The Lady in the Lake and The Born King the most.

You can check out Growing Up Londinium here:

The Final Verdict

A lot of work has been put into making King Arthur Legend of the Sword, you can almost tell that by the quality of visual effects, the mind-boggling music the movie carries, and the beautiful engaged acting performed by the cast. You can sense that frustration if things don’t work out your way, and I can feel thousands of hearts breaking on realizing how the movie fared on its first day. But it’s a price an artist is and should be willing to pay when joining hands with big names.

The movie ends up becoming a farrago of revolution since Guy Ritchie isn’t comfortable to make time jumps. He chooses to fast forward the entire childhood, and King Arthur’s quest leaving out crucial drama often to actually feel, empathize or relate to any of its characters. And whatever happened to that classy humour from The Man from U. N. C. L. E.  or Snatch for that to matter?

The primal problem with the movie is its limited time which forced Guy Ritchie to scooch in things he could have shown properly if it were only a TV series. But didn’t we have Merlin already for that?

I say just take out the music, rejoice in it and remember it like there is a Guy Ritchie version of the legendary tale as well.

Check out the trailer of King Arthur Legend of the Sword here:

Crimson Peak Review (2015)

A great story that gets lost in its crimson muck.

Crimson Peak fails to cash in on its stellar cast. We have Hiddleston, Chastain, Wasikowska, and Del Toro’s golden goose Hunnam, doing the honours through their brilliant acting. We have got the horror pro Toro in the vanguard running the reels. Still, what goes wrong?

Twenty minutes into the movie and you are suddenly hit by a disgusting rock of indifference. You don’t want to watch it any further, because things aren’t exactly exciting or frantic for that to matter. The introduction of the characters to the tale is sour. The score hobbles from the mysterious violin to occasional piano notes without imparting it a proper depth. It struggles with its ghost without any explanations.

Edith played by Mia sways expressionless and sometimes distant in her period attire. Thomas and Edith chemistry doesn’t ignite sparks either, and you begin to wonder how mediocre love could be. The latter was supposed to be deliberate. However, it all looked too dramatic to be true which, I believe, Toro could have worked upon more.

But then comes the first crime, and suddenly you are handed over a purpose in crimson gore. There is blood and a secret that Hiddleston eyes hide, and you begin doubting the Sharpes at once. Jessica Chastain is brilliant as Lucille Sharpe, but not good enough. She is shadowed mostly for a considerable amount of time before she shows her true colors. Hunnam is lost in a role that could have used some more gravity. But poor editing literally chops him off.

Ghosts in the movie like Edith’s manuscript’s characters are metaphorical and were depicted nicely. It would be foolish for people to turn in to watch this flick assuming it to be of horror genre. It was more like crime.

Some of the bits in the movie were great to watch. The story was holed up gorgeously, waiting quietly to unfold itself into a marvelous thriller, which it did halfway. The blood, the deaths and the stabbings were brutal but brilliantly depicted. Screenplay wasn’t exactly great, but some of the lines used in the movie were really the alerting kind. Watch out for Lucille’s lines on love in the end where she describes love to be twisted.

What turned me off big time was how this movie could have become more. There was supposed to be poetry in the flick’s crimson clay. The house that breathed of a dreadful past and bled tears of red every night. It all died down in a jiffy on a quick revelation, which was just sad. There wasn’t much tension building in the flick that would compel you to bite your fingernails, which was also another crucial factor amiss.

Recommend it for the story alone.