The Lost City of Z

I went out to see “The Lost City of Z.”  I was initially the only one in the theatre for the 1:10 showing, but after the theatre manager came in and told me to turn off my cell phone, a few other people walked in.  It was originally set to be a movie for Brad Pitt, but he was a bit old to play the young Percival Fawcett going on an exploration.  The movie was something like “Mountains of the Moon” combined with “Apocalypse Now” and “Aguirre, Wrath of God.”  Without Brad Pitt, the principal character had less screen presence and was something like that guy in “The Princess Bride.”  A major problem with the movie is that is goes on for too long, and we have to sit through two expeditions.  In between, there is World War I, a neglected son who is angry at his father, and a yearning to go back and make up for failure.  According to the movie, the first trip to find Z, which everyone pronounces as “Zed,” failed because of one weak and selfish person who was injured.  They gave him their last horse and food and supplies.  Supposed they were this close to success when they had to turn back, just as World War I started.  That was a movie in itself, but we had to sit through Percival’s war experiences and his son saying that he wanted to go to find Z.  I had the feeling that this was Brad Pitt making a movie about himself, something like “Moneyball.”  I could see someone like Ryan O’Neal playing this part, because he was one actor I thought of as I watched all of this.  I also thought of Harrison Ford in “The Mosquito Coast.”  The idea of returning to South America after so many years seemed terrible because Percival had recovered from blindness from chlorine gas, and he was an older, slower man.  What was his son but someone who was ashamed of his father?  Percival lost his hat on the train ride to start the second expedition.  The moment was like Terence Malick.  It also seemed to foretell that something was going to go wrong.  Could this father and son really outdo the Americans?  They do encounter a scene that was like the beginning of “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”  They were supposedly very close to their goal.  The men were out pursuing an insane dream, which may not have been important in the first place, and the woman left behind suffers.  I would say that I liked two scenes in this long movie.  The first was Percival refusing to apologize to the man who ruined the first mission, and the second was his farewell to his family.  You had to feel sorry for the young daughter.  I find it hard to see that audiences will like this movie very much.  You have to sit through a lot before the point is made.  It was exhausting to watch.  The movie could have been better with Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role.  Sienna Miller was someone I think I knew only from “American Sniper.”  Some of the people who died on May 5 include Bret Harte (1902), Frank Tashlin (1972), George Sidney (2002), and Dana Wynter (2011).  Today is a birthday for Adele (29) and Brian Williams (58).

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