Directed by Adam Nee and Aaron Nee, who co-wrote the screenplay with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox via a story by Seth Gordon, The Lost City is an entertainingly silly couple of hours of classic escapism, the kind that Dwayne Johnson has been honing over the past few years – so much so in fact that you expect to see his shiny head pop-up out of the jungle, in which most of the film is set – To clarify: the Jungle, not Dwayne’s head…
Sandra Bullock plays Loretta Sage, a pop-culture romance-adventure author who has spent her writing career taking her readers to exotic destinations, with treasure seeking and danger always present in her stories. But, you see, her books became more famous due to the book cover model, Alan, played by Channing Tatum – a charming, handsome fella who’s also taken to dedicating his life to the character ‘Dash’ from Loretta’s books, which is bringing in the ladies (for him) during her book tours but also keeping the book sales going.
Whilst on tour with a new title, The Lost City of D, Loretta is kidnapped by Daniel Radcliffe’s amusingly off-kilter billionaire Abigail Fairfax, because he believes that she can translate an old language and find an ancient lost city’s treasure. As she’s taken (or tooken), Alan begins to truly embody his fictional character Dash, and sets out to prove he can rescue her in real life, even though he doesn’t have the specific set of skills he needs to pull off such a trick but, with a little bit of a brilliant cameo help, he does find her. However, despite a daring rescue, the pair are stuck in the jungle and will need to work together to survive, and Loretta will have to rethink what she assumes of both her own life, and what she thinks of Alan, all the while trying to find the treasure before it’s lost to a Volcanic island. Simple!
The Lost City is fun, and I always think when you’ve got a certain level of star involved, you should be in a good time – and with Bullock and Tatum at the middle, there’s all the right chemistry for both physical comedy and an affectionate appreciation of the ridiculous situations they get involved in. This is a proper switch off, sit back and snack type of movie, and being filmed on location at the Dominican Republic gives it a much wider scope, with a visual palette that’s stunning to look at, thanks to DOP Jonathan Sela.
Of course, this style isn’t necessarily ground-breaking – and I do think there’s scope for a sharper script if they go again – but it finds a nice rhythm with entertaining set pieces that make it stand out, in a ‘vision’ sense. From the ‘Charcuterie’ scene, to the Brad Pitt cameo, both of which are inspired, they give us a good ride. The central pairing of Bullock and Tatum also works, with Sandra showing off her clever, clumsy nature (which I’ve seen before) and when teaming up with Tatum, there’s a number of amusing situational moments which made me laugh out loud. For me, it’s another reminder of how good a comic actor she is, much like Hugh Grant – and I always recommend Two Weeks Notice for those two on sparkling form together. It’s also great to see Only Murders in the Building’s Da’Vine Joy Randolph on form here, she’s definitely one to watch out for.
The Lost City is a classic odd-couple setup, with their adventure and relationship being in very different places at the start, to where they’ll end up. It builds and grows from the surface-level – which is mostly a problem Bullock’s Loretta has to work through – to become an enjoyable comedy adventure with a good heart, and I’d be more than happy to see the two team up again for another.
The Extras are surprisingly, in a positive way, extensive. When you get a good selection, it usually indicates how much work and love went into creating the movie. They build on their fun ensemble, explore the dynamic Bullock/Tatum magic, discuss the location move from the UK to the Dominican Republic (thanks, pandemic, truthfully!) and how that brought true sweat to the sweaty scenes.
It’s clear that Sandy cares about making sure the community benefits from the filmmaking as well, making sure that the crew on the Islands were trained up from their own crew for future ventures. She’s also a producer on this one, and was eager to bring the stories she wants to explore to the big screen, and so all these elements offer up a lot more love for the film – including discussion about taking on their own stunts!
You’ll admire her sparkly pink jumpsuit, and designer Marlene Stewart talks about that, plus there’s more behind-the-scenes insight to the charcuterie scene, and what everyone wants… bloopers, with many laughs, Pitt included!