The Lost City of Z, written and directed by Superprime’s James Gray, and starring Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Tom Holland and Sienna Miller, was the closing night film for the 54th New York Film Festival. The film, a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon, received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike.
The cinematic adventure was adapted by Gray from David Grann’s 2009 The New York Times Best Seller about British explorer Percival Fawcett and his expeditions. It is a “compelling and quixotic true story of a British army officer who, a century ago, ventured into uncharted realms of the South American jungle in search of a presumed ancient civilization,” writes The Hollywood Reporter, adding, “The Lost City of Z is a rare piece of contemporary classical cinema.”
The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman took care to describe Gray’s cinematic craft. “With The Immigrant James Gray evolved into a type of filmmaker determined the claim that “they don’t make ‘em like that anymore.” Even with a relatively modest budget (there aren’t any sweeping vistas with hundreds of extras) his intimate portraits have a wider scope than most blockbusters. Its final shot, which one-ups Gray’s punch-to-the-heart ending from The Immigrant, is a rich statement about wonder, beauty and loss; a small bit of perfection that all who regularly attend the cinema are on a seemingly fruitless quest to find,” he said.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety’s chief film critic wrote, “The Lost City of Z, more than most of Gray’s films, is its own organic creation, and Gray catches the audience up in the fervor of Fawcett’s desire to locate that city and connect with the epiphany he’s seeking.” Adding, “The most haunting aspect of Percy Fawcett’s story is that he disappeared in the Amazon in 1925 and was never found. What happened? Gray is forced to imagine what happened, and this produces his strongest filmmaking.”
At The Wrap, Dan Callahan noted, “Gray has always been a methodical, highly cautious director — and that caution of his has led to exquisite films like We Own the Night and Two Lovers… The Lost City of Z is an attempt at an entirely different kind of film for Gray, and the results are revelatory and expansive while also true to his own complicated creative character. He concluded, “The Lost City of Z feels like a clear artistic advance for Gray, who proves himself here as one of our finest and most distinctive living filmmakers.”
The film’s story of courage, compassion, and conviction will be released in theatres April 21, 2017.