The Lost City (2022) Review

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Finding the D

The Lost City (2022): 9 out of 10: Burned out widowed author (Sandra Bullock) kills off her main character in an attempt to move on her with her life. But a secret in her otherwise standard romance novel intrigues a diminutive fortune hunter (Daniel Radcliffe) who kidnaps her. Her long time cover model (Channing Tatum) and his soldier of fortune yoga teacher (Brad Pitt) go to rescue her. Think more Romancing the Stone rather than Misery.

The Good

The Good: I want to talk a little about emotional intelligence. The Lost City, after getting some slapstick out of the way, exudes emotional intelligence. Not just in our main character, but in some of the side characters as well. Unlike most actual romance stories (cough Romance on the Orient Express cough) Our romance partners turn out to be three-dimensional characters. That while they have issues, neither is a crazed stalker or has the judgement of Khloé Kardashian. Which is a pleasant relief from both romance movies and romantic novels. (Also, no one is a werewolf, which is a pleasant change of pace from the books I have been reading (and writing) lately. Yes, there may be a werewolf in Snowcano)

I was recently writing about another film that is better than it had any right to be, (Alien) and The Lost City really kind of has that beat. This is one of the best romantic comedies in years. A definite homage to Romancing the Stone, it both captures the adventure and fun of that Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner classic while actually creating a story and characters that have an underlying depth and sadness.

Now I am a bit of a sucker for this movie. Like say Bruce Willis’ The Kid, I found a connection or two with the characters. I am a recent widower as Sandra Bullock’s character is, so I undoubtedly felt her journey more than most. Plus, though I am five years younger than Brad Pitt, we could be twins.

The adventure is very well shot and there are some good action scenes. The Lost City is genuinely funny in the slapstick vein that Sandra Bullock excels at. It is also surprisingly touching and Brad Pitt’s character has an arc that brings the movie and plot to a new level.

The Bad

The Bad: Da’Vine Joy Randolph pulls off a role I swear was designed to irritate me. The fat “Oh hell no” best friend and business partner to our heroine had all the making of another Alex Borstein as the fat horny comic relief from Catwoman fiasco. It never quite reaches there and all credit should go to Da’Vine Joy Randolph because the script is not doing her any favors. (She doesn’t even get a romantic ending but a platonic one because Hollywood cannot imagine a fat woman wanting to have sex.)

Nope, the stickler is the plot line that her character has invested her life savings into this book tour on behalf of author Sandra Bullock. This makes no sense on any possible level. First, it is the publisher, not the agent, that would spring for such things. If the publisher, for some reason, was not paying for its own publicity, the author certainly would be footing the bill. I would expect a Hollywood movie to know how literary agents work.

The Ugly

The Ugly: Well, if I am going to pick on something, it would be Patti Harrison who looks a little old to be playing a Generation Z trope of a social media manager. It is a poorly written role to boot and Patti does nothing with it. On the plus side, she isn’t in the film after the first twenty minutes.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: There is a henchman named Julian. And crazed billionaire megalomaniac boss Daniel Radcliffe actually uses his name. Which is so out of character with bad guys in movies, they never really take the time to get to know thier henchman. You want to turn a solid eight into a nine on the score above. That is how you do it.

An active volcano and a waterfall sinkhole with a hidden city underneath. Sign me up.
Take a shot every time Sandra reaches into her bosom and you will not make it through the movie.
I see Sandra has joined our little drinking game.
As has Daniel. Johnnie Walker Blue Label is one of my go to Christmas gifts for those in my life who enjoy such things. It says I like you enough to actually spend money.
Sandra is enjoying herself way too much in this scene. Too much to drink, perhaps?
Yup, she is definitely drunk.
Subtle acting here. Sandra and Channing have the expressions one would expect running from an explosion. While Brad playing a yoga instructor/ navy seal, has the stoic expressions those callings would engender.
There is no practical reason why between these two men have neither a bowie knife nor even some nail clippers to cut Sandra from the chair. Rule of Funny is certainly in effect here.
Dressing a character like a fish out of water is always a fine line. The Lost City nails it. The arctic camo is a nice touch.
Of course, you can’t get more fish out of water than that pink/purple sequined jumpsuit. (It’s a loaner Sandra is informed by her cash strapped agent). Like a vintage car introduced in the first act of a teen comedy, it is not long for the movie.
Speaking of vintage cars, not long for this movie.
Channing Tatum does pull off some of the best expressions.
Speaking of expressions, Daniel Radcliffe also nails some delightful ones.
I found Daniel Radcliffe a delight in the movie. He is admittedly no Thomas Forbes-Johnson with his commanding bald head and incredible mustache playing the pivotal role of Julian.
Once again Thomas Forbes-Johnson as Julian shows why he is the star of The Lost City.
You and I are very much alike. Archaeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the purer faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me, to push you out of the light.
Snakes… why did it have to be snakes?
Practical effects or CGI leave it to a romantic comedy adventure to show other big budget movies the way to frame a fantastic shot.
The Lost City does a great job of keeping the actors in the establishing shots. This is a very well directed movie. Having your lead in a sparkling jumpsuit certainly helps though.
The sparking jumpsuit really really helps.
It is a strange touch, but the Roy Rogers cosplayers are cracking me up.
So billionaire eccentric Daniel Radcliffe kidnaps Sandra Bullock, and he has heard she likes cheese. So he puts out a comically ridiculous amount of cheeses in an attempt to placate her.
Payoff one. Sandra eating the cheese while explaining his plan is crazy and will never work.
Payoff two: Turns out Daniel had a plane waiting. (Which of course blows all the cheese onto our slapstick heroine.)
The Lost City of D? I see you movie. What also makes this scene remarkably effective is Bowen Yang is exactly the kind of celebrity that would be doing a romance novel book launch.
Recent release Where the Crawdads Sing is getting some well-deserved stick for turning abject poverty and a horrifying swamp into one Instagram ready shot after another. Where a shack of despair and terror looks instead like an ABnB within walking distance of the eighteenth hole.

Unless they are making a horror film like Rest Stop or poverty porn like Slumdog Millionare, Hollywood hates ugly. Everyone in ancient Rome has great teeth and the streets of Victorian London are not covered in horse shit.

Every frame of The Lost City looks like a romance novel cover. But to its credit, it really is on point. The movie is a real life recreation of a romance novel complete with outrageous plot, exotic locales and enemies to lovers age gap romance.

In other words, don’t expect the rural village you stumble across in real life to have a romantic dancing, beautiful lighting, flowers everywhere, a wind machine to blow your hair and a working payphone.
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