Cert – 12, Run-time – 1 hour 52 minutes, Directors – Aaron Nee, Adam Nee
When she finds herself kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe), adventure-romance writer Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock), alongside her cover model (Channing Tatum), finds herself exploring an island to find the treasure featured in her most recent book.
There have been plenty of comparisons made between The Lost City and the likes of Romancing The Stone and Jewel Of The Nile. The film certainly occasionally acts as a throwback to such adventure-romance flicks. But, while displaying such throwbacks it doesn’t ever feel stuck in the past. There are plenty of moments, not just when it comes to the tone and style of a handful of gags, that allow it to avoid delving into feeling dated or of another era. Perhaps some of this comes down to the casting of Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum – particularly Tatum playing cover model Alan, a true himbo figure trying to prove himself as a worthy hero to the writer of the adventure-romance novels which he lends his face, and body, to the covers of.
That writer happens to be Bullock’s Loretta Sage. Since the passing of her husband five years prior her workflow has dwindled, and seemingly so has the quality. Her latest book, The Lost City Of D, has been met with lacklustre reviews in terms of both the adventure and the adventure shared between the two central figures throughout the novel. However, the book has captured the attention of billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Daniel Radcliffe) who has located the lost city and believes that Sage can help him to find the treasure at the centre of the novel, the crown of fire, based on the expertise she has shown from having written so much about it. Therefore Bullock, with Tatum attempting to come to the rescue, finds herself stranded on a strange island with little clue of how to escape; being forced to go on an adventure much like the ones she has written about for years – just without the “pages of coital reverie”.
The casting of Radcliffe as the traditional British villain certainly feels intentional and he definitely appears to understand the character and what the film wants him to be – his baffled delivery of the line “why are things exploding?” is one of the highlights of the film. Throw in a publicist (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) doing everything she can to reach her friend to get her back on track with her book tour and you have a handful of traditional figures for this kind of film. It appears that the writing team for The Lost City are very aware of this and have tried to craft something within a more traditional vein, again with some more modern jokes and references for the cast to deliver – helped by the various points of action which mix both slight parody, mostly in the form of Brad Pitt’s brief screen-time, and simple comedic action. A cast who all seem to be having fun making this film. And while the fun doesn’t always entirely come across it does help to lift the tone in a number of scenes and gives the film an overall breezier feel. While there may be some slight jumping from perspectives with characters in different places there’s not quite a sketch feel to the film, or one that’s overall too jumpy and constantly flicking back and forth, avoiding little time being given to follow what’s happening at one point or another.
Overall, there’s plenty to like throughout The Lost City, helping push it along and keep you engaged throughout the run-time. Although, perhaps the moments that work best are those simply allowing Bullock, Tatum and Radcliffe to have a good time in the flow of the adventure-chase narrative. Almost as soon as the villain appears on screen and takes the acclaimed author to the titular lost city on his private jet you know what you’re in for, and luckily the film keeps a consistent style and tone. Maintaining a slight throwback style while avoiding a dated feel there’s plenty to amuse and enjoy within the traditional arc that the film travels across. Perhaps not as thrilling as the supposed Lovemore and Dash adventures are made out to be in Sage’s books, but still entertaining nonetheless.
The cast of The Lost City are clearly having fun in the breezy flow of this adventure-romance, heightening the amusement factor to be found within the slightly updated comedic action and adventure notes.