Remember when you learned about all the greatest explorers of the world and one of the biggest names was that of Percy Fawcett? Yeah, me neither. There’s an explanation for that, and it’s the main reason the producers of this film should have passed on the material. Fawcett isn’t a big name in exploration because he mainly spent his life chasing little more than a concept. Fawcett believed that the remains of the famed El Dorado lay in the hidden jungles of the Amazon just waiting for someone to discover them. He chased that dream for nearly two decades while leaving his long-suffering wife and family to grow up mainly in his absence.
Writer/director James Gray‘s retelling of David Grann‘s well-respected source material is more lost than the fabled city. We feel every second of the film’s interminable 140 minutes. Much of it is due to the sloth-like dialogue of lead Charlie Hunnam. He speaks as if having to contemplate every single syllable that leaves his lips. It’s a staccato that had me wishing that he’d perished in the jungle after the first act.
Gray even manages to mangle the seemingly bankable thrill of a challenging trek through the dangerous jungles of Brazil. We endure one scene after another where next to nothing happens. The film’s incessantly ominous score only serves to remind us of how little is actually occurring. It all wraps up with a horrid final summation that seems entirely conceived in Gray’s own mind.
This is one mythical story that should have stayed lost.