The Reel Review
This biopic about British explorer Percy Fawcett starts off as an epic love letter to adventurers everywhere, following Fawcett’s harrowing treks in the early 1900s through uncharted parts of eastern Bolivia, where he and his men battled cannibals, piranhas, illness and starvation as they mapped areas around the profitable rubber plantations and learned of a possible ancient civilization that predates their own.
Unfortunately, the meandering two-and-a-half-hour film could have benefited greatly from a more focused story that didn’t take such unnecessary liberties with the facts and some much-needed editing. A pointless WWI segment halfway through the film detracts from the story’s main point – Fawcett’s obsession with and eventual return to his beloved Amazon.
Writer/director James Gray’s clumsy script gives its star Charlie Hunnam little room to breathe life into his protagonist, upstaged by Robert Pattinson’s imminently more interesting portrayal of fellow explorer Henry Costin with Tom Holland as Fawcett’s estranged eldest son Jack, who together would vanish during their 1925 expedition to find the lost city of “Z.” (The film oddly ignores the important detail that Jack’s best friend Raleigh Rimmel joined them on their ill-fated expedition.) But despite its storytelling shortcomings, the adventure epic is at least has some stunning visuals.