James Gray's The Lost City of Z (pronounced "zed"), adapted from the book by David Grann, tells the story of real-life explorer Percy Fawcett, who ventured into the Amazon in the early 20th century in search of a fabled lost civilization and its reported riches. According to critics, the film itself is a treasure. Here's what they're saying:
- With "grand sweep and dreamy energy," it's "the kind of grand adventure epic few people know how to make anymore," writes Stephanie Zacharek at Time. She applauds not only Gray and cinematographer Darius Khondji, but also the actors. Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett delivers "the perfect blend of ardor and understatement," she writes, while "Robert Pattinson is wonderful" as his assistant.
- Hunnam is an "implosive force" but "everyone brings their A-game to Gray's haunting and visionary film, a potent provocation that gets under your skin," writes Peter Travers at Rolling Stone. The film "thrums with exotic adventure"—and though Gray's "tread is softer, more classical" than that of Francis Coppola in Apocalypse Now, "the impact is every bit as powerful."
- There's an "old-world meticulousness" to the scenes shot in England. But as Fawcett enters the Amazon, Gray's filmmaking becomes "more abstract, a drifting impermanence, as if the director were trying to capture … the wide, beautiful unknowability of existence," Bilge Ebiri writes at Village Voice. The result is "moments of rapturous beauty," Ebiri adds. "See this thing on the biggest screen you can find."
- "Gray's film feels as though it's from another, more meticulous era in Hollywood," yet it's both "bold and progressive," Dan Gunderman puts it at the New York Daily News. It "entertains and enlightens" as it "surveys humanity as a whole" and is bolstered by stellar acting, an "adventurous and existential" narrative, and "captivating cinematography," he writes. This "is a real find."
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