Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Harry Melling, Franco Nero, Ian McDiarmid, Angus Macfadyen, Daniel Huttlestone, Aleksander Joyanovic, Murray Melvin, Edward Ashley, Nicholas Grace, Raquel Arraes, Bobby Smalldridge, Nicholas Agnew, Frank Clem, Michael Ford-Fitzgerald, Johann Myers, Michael Jenn, Frank Cannon, John Sackville, Tom Mulheron, Adam Bellamy, Matthew Sunderland, Stacy Shane, Richard Buck, Siennah Buck, Barnaby Edwards, Brian Matthews Murphy, Bethan Coomber, Andrew McNeill, Tasmin Greene Barker, Michael McLaughlin.
As a nation, as a collective of people bound by the sea, we seem to make a great deal of our illustrious failures, it could be argued that is what makes us peculiar in the eyes of the world, we demonise success, indeed we are able to destroy anyone who finds even a modicum of victory in their chosen field with absolute ease that it is surprising that anyone dare try to achieve a dream. We demonise success but we make much of anyone who shows spirit and doesn’t quite hit the mark and in that Colonel Percy Fawcett is up there with the embodiment of such derring-do as Shackleton, Mallory and Captain Scott, not quite being the victor of the spoils but certainly celebrated by many.
Colonel Percy Fawcett may or may not deserve his time on the big screen, there are schools of thought in both camps that would suggest he is a hero or indeed a villain, his disappearance from the world as unexplained as the idol worship placed upon in high quarters or indeed the ridicule he has had placed against his name in the years since his final and ill-fated mission to discover the location of The Lost City of Z.
It is though worth remembering that at one time, again for good or for bad, such missions were cause for commemoration, to the North Pole, to rediscover Manchu Picchu, to climb and conquer Everest/Sagarmāthā, to be the first person to do such a thing is what drives us initially, not so much the fame or the money, but for History; the prestige would always come after and perhaps the adulation but for some that salute to the bravery would never be acknowledged by them in life.
The Lost City of Z ponders on the ideal of marking any person up as a hero, indeed it makes pains to clarify such thought in some quarters as it brings into question exactly what a hero is, is it someone who can leave their family behind for months at a time and then do the same again to fight a war and be away from their loved ones again for years or is the person who receives a commendation only to fall foul of their own ego, their own self-image that they try to protect.
In The Lost City of Z, the story plays close to the known facts, the despair of seeing a once glorious man in the form of James Murray, portrayed excellently by Angus Macfadyen, become a wretched and despicable figure in his narrow minded opinion and sheer lack of will power, and perhaps with a slight whiff of selling a couple of heroes to the audience, Charlie Hunnam as Colonel Fawcett and Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin; it is in this that legends are made, no matter what the truth of it all is, what matters in the end is not the success but the heroic failure and it one that makes this film the kind in which the old boy’s own adventures sparkle with mystery and fascination to both genders. It only takes spirit after all.
Ian D. Hall