7:00 PM, 23rd September, 2017
In the early 20th century, Percy Fawcett (Hunnam), an experienced British military cartographer, is assigned to map the border between Brazil and Bolivia in an effort to settle trade disputes. Leaving behind his young family (Miller and babies), Fawcett teams up with wary explorer Henry Costin (a near unrecognisable Robert Pattinson) and the pair head deep into the rainforest.
Navigating hostile natives and barking mad rubber plantation owners, the pair hear tired stories of El Dorado that they dismiss as fantasy. A fantasy they are forced to re-evaluate when they discover elaborate pottery strewn about the overgrown jungle weeks later. Realising there are grains of truth to the myth, Fawcett develops a more plausible theory of a lost city that he calls ‘Z’ and begins a lifelong obsession with finding it. Over the course of decades his obsession strains his family relationships and sees his credibility rise and fall, before ultimately leading to a legendary expedition from which he and his adult son (Holland) will never return.
The Lost City of Z is an ambitious, epic tale of obsession that harks back to the adventure movies of Hollywood from half a century ago. Both in terms of its story structure and visual style, this is a refreshing return to classic filmmaking.
9:31 PM, 23rd September, 2017
It’s probably safe to assume that any “based on a true story” movie didn’t really happen that way. That’s true of Gold, too – which in any case has to make some educated guesses about the motives and fates of some of the people involved, with public accounts murky and inconclusive. But it’s worth knowing that while liberties are taken, the film doesn’t exaggerate in any way. This really happened.
Matthew McConaughey gives the most out-there performance of his career as Kenny Wells, a washed-up mining magnate – perhaps taking inspiration from Christian Bale in another I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-fiction movie, American Hustle, cultivating the same pot-bellied, stringy combover look. He’s nearly bankrupt and almost a complete laughing stock, but has managed to retain the loyalty of a girlfriend (Howard) and a dozen staff, and damned if we can’t kind of see why.
And he feels he has one last shot at redemption: he’s heard rumours of Michael Acosta (Ramírez), a legendary mineral hunter, raving about a hidden gold reserve somewhere in Indonesia. Acosta can’t get a gig, and Kenny can’t get a gig, but the two of them together…
This is the story of a man who crawls through the jungle, emerging to tackle another jungle head on, and win – sort of. It’s exhilarating scuzziness, but with a heart of… well, gold.