Lost in the Woods
What is the true measure of a man? Aptitude as father? Passion as a lover? Or is it his inherent need to satiate some maniacal sense of purpose in what little time we all really have?
In The Lost City of Z, Lt. Percy Fawcett, (played by the brilliant Charlie Hunnam of Sons of Anarchy fame), sets out on a journey of discovery, duty, and death, in honor of Queen and Country.
A synopsis could continue for many pages, but I’d rather sentimentalize some post-watch.
This is masterwork. Director James Gray – whose film We Own the Night is a highlight in my collection – captured me from Act I, Scene I. With sublime romanticism of the British Army in all of its regality, Gray’s Z is more than just a stroll through the jungle.
But what I gathered from this film was Percy’s desperate need for validation, earned provincially from the most honored men in his company.
Percy is a nobody, burdened by the name of a dishonored father. Every commendation the military affords cannot shade hierarchical stature in early 20th Century England. Come hell or worse, Percy wants a seat at the table.
The British Army decides to give him one.
His mission, at the behest of the Royal Geographical Society, is to survey uncharted lands in South America, specifically those in the Amazon rainforest, nestled between warring states Bolivia and Brazil.
To aid in the journey, Percy is guided by Corporal Henry Costin (played by an unrecognizable Robert Pattinson), an able man with a taste for drink and an even stronger sense of precaution. He is quick to mention that the jungle is nothing like war.
This is an experience that will change your life.
Gray tells the tale of Percy Fawcett and his tumultuous treks through the jungle for a hearty 141 minutes. But every second felt shorter than the last. As the credits rolled, I felt content, yet hungry for more adventure.
Percy’s mission for his family, his duty, his dignity – resonated with me during this cinematic treat.
I didn’t want it to end.
But what is weighed can also be measured. The Lost City of Z is a chance to see a burdened man, stifled by pomp and circumstance, earn his respect through measured dissonance. He refused to heed the call of subordination. Rather, he chose a literal path less traveled – to such an end – in honor of his every being.
I, given all things considered, am quite humbled on recollection.
Thank you, Amazon Studios. Thank you, James Gray. And thank you, Bleecker Street, for backing such a wonderful film.