Cert 15 140mins Stars 3
Plod your weary way across South America with this historical jungle trek.
It’s a handsome, sincere and stiff upper lipped affair. There’s none of the swinging adventurous fun of a Tarzan romp. And it lacks the barking mad genius of the classic, Aguirre: Wrath of God, to which it aspires.
We join Geordie actor Charlie Hunnam as he sails up the Amazon, searching for the fabled city of Z. The Sons Of Anarchy TV star plays Colonel Percy Fawcett, a real life military man-turned-explorer.
Hunnam’s a perfectly capable actor who always seems far more comfortable on the small screen than the silver one. As a result he’s out of his depth in more ways than one.
He sadly hasn’t the necessary range to express Fawcett’s obsessive nature, and there’s not enough action to play to his strengths. His favoured means of expression are monotone whispers or the shouting of grand declarations.
Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland pass through the revolving door marked fellow travellers, sporting remarkable beards and threadbare clothes. Sienna Miller does well in a non-role as the Fawcett’s much neglected and stay at home wife.
Pattinson would have made for a more interesting choice as Fawcett, and arguably would be a bigger box office draw. Meanwhile Holland is about to swing into the Hollywood stratosphere as the new Spider-man.
Fawcett made several journeys between 1905 and 1954. Rather than streamlining the story into two trips, the script plods pedantically on, marking every stop from the Irish countryside, to stuffy London and into deepest Bolivia.
There’s opera in the undergrowth, alligators on the river and treachery in the hearts of men. They’re attacked by cannibals, abandoned by guides and face starvation and disease.
This wants to be a film about about obsession, faith and spirituality, but it never finds the transcendence it manfully strives for.