THE LOST CITY OF Z (Movie Review)
So, I watched “Z” and it was interesting for many reasons. First of all, it was a great film to visit the purpose of a film. What is the reason for making a film? It is an expensive endeavor. Millions will be spent creating a feature film, anywhere from 20 to 120 million and more in some cases, depending on the type of film being made. It is a very time consuming process. Many films will be years in the making. Hundreds and hundreds of people will be working behind the scenes in pre-production, production, and post production to bring a film to the screen. With all of these resources being painstakingly acquired, the choice of material for a project is often a puzzler for me. “Z” is certainly one of those. I’m not saying there are not films made with the sole purpose of just trying to be funny, entertaining and profitable, there are…but not this type of film. This type of intellectual film has to have some kind of POV. I would like to know what his intent was for this film? Is there a point and I’m just too dense to get it, or is it just a book that he liked and made it into a film? The late 1800’s to early 1900’s were a strange time of exploration and sociological history. It was the confluence of the undiscovered and a shrinking world due to technological advances. Information was being transmitted much easier and inter-continental travel was becoming common place. The race for discovering the undiscovered was fever pitched. It was a way to become famous over night and make a fortune from that celebrity. Explorers like Robert F. Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen, Byrd, were all competing to see who could discover the next big, undiscovered thing. The next, never been reached area of the world. I find the real story of Percy Fawcett, to be sad and almost pathetic. Most of these explorers were headline grabbing, narcissists and ego maniacs. I have always found them to be very flawed people and I find Fawcett to be in that same mold. A thrill seeking, narcissist who’s ambition and glory seeking was his motivation for everything he did. Is this the meaning of the film? Sadly, I do not know. it certainly was not very clear. I would love to hear from Gray to explain his intent. With that said, onto the execution of the film itself.
The film is made very well from a technical perspective. I would normally be drawn to this type of filmmaking, in the vein of Room With A View, or Sense and Sensibility. A film not making explosions and gunfights the focus of the story telling and instead using writing/dialogue, performance and photography to tell the story. The film is well executed, well acted, (especially Pattison) and well photographed, a very well crafted film, but to what end? What is the reason for making a two and half hour film about an explorer who really didn’t discover anything? If there was a diary found, written by Mrs. Fawcett, and the film was told from her point of view, that would have been much more compelling. But, the way this story is presented, by just laying out the Hollywood history (as historically accurate as filmmakers can be) of it, I just found myself scratching my head. I kept waiting for something to develop, but alas, it never did. I was left very empty and disappointed with this film. I do not say this lightly, because I like to support this type of filmmaking whenever possible, because there is not enough real story telling being done in cinema. I just could not find the, why, of the film, and I was not compelled by the actual story of Fawcett. He did not really accomplish anything particularly amazing, that could tell a story on it’s own merit. Without a compelling story, there is a lot of work for Gray to make this movie worthwhile and, unfortunateIy, it just never materialized. Again, not a bad film, just not worth the two and half hours of my time and I do not think it was a worthwhile project to invest the money and effort needed to produce it.