Reviews | Written by Paul Mount 20/04/2022

THE LOST CITY

In an early sequence in The Lost City, exasperated writer Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), frustrated by the demands placed upon her by the continued success of her novels chronicling the vapid exploits of adventurer Dash McMahon, hurriedly flees a disastrous book launch pursued by airhead model Alan Caprison (Channing Tatum) who portrays Dash on the covers of her books. On a wall in the background, we see a literary poster proclaiming “Romancing the Page” and it’s a sly and knowing acknowledgement that the makers of the film – directors Adam and Aaron Nee and their co-writers Oren Uziel and Dana Fox – know exactly what they’re doing and the type of movie they’re trying to recreate. We’re right back in the dizzy post-Indiana Jones 1980s where the likes of Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner embarked on unlikely, good-natured high stakes escapades in exotic locations hotly pursued by gun-brandishing boo-hiss baddies. The Lost City knows what it wants to be and hits the spot with almost marksman like precision.

Oddly, The Lost City, despite being crafted from bits and pieces lifted liberally from innumerable illustrious and not-so-illustrious cinematic forebears, is terrific, joyous stuff, happy to poke fun at its genre and itself, delivering gag after gag and outrageous visual set piece after set piece, the whole thing powered by the formidable onscreen chemistry generated by Bullock and Tatum. Squeezed into an uncomfortable glittering catsuit  for the Press junket, Loretta is kidnapped by unlikely multi-millionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who, realising that she had based her books on her own historic research conducted with her late husband, forces her to decipher an ancient map that will reveal the whereabouts of the  location of the long-lost “Crown of Fire.” You know the score. Bumbling Alan enlists the aid of former Navy SEAL stud Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt) to rescue her from Fairfax’s jungle lair and eventually Loretta and Alan have to fight their way across hostile terrain, evading Fairfax’’s thugs, as they try to make their way back to civilisation.

Their journey is packed with action, incidents, and laugh out loud humour. The Lost City is a film you’ll watch with a fixed grin on your face. It’s clever, absurd, ingenious – it knows precisely which buttons to press and its Dominican Republic location is eye-achingly beautiful and stunningly photographed. Bullock and Tatum are a comedy match made in Heaven and even as we’re never quite convinced by the still-boyish Daniel Radcliffe as a ruthless fanatic, the film doesn’t shy away from the apparent absurdity of the casting when one character comments “I thought he was a little boy but he’s got a full-grown beard.” Priceless. The Lost City is a warm, big-hearted treat, a delight from start to finish, a glorious throwback to simpler times, simpler stories and shameless, brazen high adventure.

The Lost City is in cinemas now.