The plot of “The Lost City” borrows from “Romancing the Stone” and a number of other adventure movies, therefore it isn’t a particularly original movie. The volcano that dominates the isolated island where most of the action takes place serves as one of its punchlines. From the very beginning, you can tell what kind of movie this will be because every major development is foreshadowed.
However, there is a lot of pleasure and comfort in all this familiarity. Like a good romance novelist could, Adam and Aaron Nee, the film’s directors and co-writers, are acutely aware of what their audience wants, and they provide an indubitably lovely (and welcome absence of any intellectual property) romantic romp. You can watch this movie multiple times on streaming services while sipping wine after seeing it once in a theater with popcorn.
Burned-out romance author Loretta Sage (Sandra Bullock) fears that her career will be derailed by her sadness over her husband’s passing. Her contempt for her books is only surpassed by her hate for Alan (Channing Tatum), the book’s cover model and a seeming dimwit who caters to her customers during book signing events.
Daniel Radcliffe’s character Abigail Fairfax, an adventurous and wealthy man, kidnaps Loretta during an event advertising her most recent book. Fairfax wants Loretta to decipher some old writing that leads to a treasure before a volcano erupts and covers the entire location, knowing that the lost city from Loretta’s book is true. With assistance from his meditation teacher Jack (Brad Pitt) and Loretta’s troubled editor Beth (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), Alan embarks on a disastrous mission to save Loretta.
Even though Loretta and Alan will inevitably fall in love, “The Lost City” does a wonderful job of highlighting the growing connection between Bullock and Tatum’s characters. Alan’s emotional savvy and unfailing support are shown in particular by the film. Even though he may be the type to refer to Loretta as a “human mummy,” he is also aware of the fact that she needs snacks and could benefit from a pair of shoes that are a little bit more practical given the difficult terrain she is crossing. Alan is not only a lovely man but also a caring man, like many a renowned romance hero.
Tatum is excellent choice for the role on a number of levels. In addition having to the appearance of someone who belongs on the cover of romance novel, he is also a performer who is aware of his own attraction and has repeatedly shown that he isn’t afraid to play it for laughs. Bullock is likewise eager to play into her character’s physical awkwardness and ultimate loss of her prickly veneer; after all, it’s not exactly new territory for her either. Together, the two emit a feeling of joy and warmth that is easy to fall for.
Other members of the supporting cast, especially a very welcome Patti Harrison as Loretta’s hysterically self-absorbed social media manager, add bright, bizarre punches of humor to a script that otherwise plays it by the numbers (oddly, this isn’t a criticism because “The Lost City” is working with an effective formula). Only Radcliffe, compared to the rest of the cast, doesn’t exactly gel as well in the film. He is the only character in the movie where the filmmakers make an attempt to deviate from accepted tropes, and as a result, he appears out of place in a narrative where everyone else seems to fit their roles just fine.
Some may criticize “The Lost City” for being predictable and ridiculous, but it accomplishes a lot of noteworthy things. Both visually and acoustically, it is vibrant. The story is original, and the filmmakers know what kind of movie this is. The most significant aspect of this connection is that it shows a genuine knowledge of the emotional sensitivity and fragility that characterize romance as a genre. In the end, “The Lost City” wants to directly meet the expectations of its audience. Although done on what could seem like an obvious level, it is done with enough attention to stand up to many viewings.
From the SXSW Film Festival, this review was submitted. The movie debuts on March 25.