By Leah Mize
There’s no adventure Sandra Bullock won’t sign up for. In the film The Lost City, a Paramount Pictures production directed by the Nee brothers, she portrays Loretta Sage, an archaeologist turned romance novelist, navigating life as a widow. Her life gets even more complicated when billionaire Abigail Fairfax, played by Daniel Radcliffe, kidnaps her to exploit her archaeology talents for his lofty goals of finding lost treasure. Luckily, her cover model Alan (Channing Tatum) seizes the opportunity to rescue her.
The PG-13 film takes place in the modern day on a fictional island located in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of this, the scenery is gorgeous and it makes all the wide, establishing shots stunning and interesting to look at. As a whole, the film is shot incredibly well and the editing flows nicely. The soundtrack is, for the majority of the film, understated thanks to clean mixing and editing that doesn’t distract from the visuals.
The film also features performances from Oscar Nunez, of The Office U.S., and Bowen Yang, of SNL.
Yang, whenever he’s on screen, takes over the frame. He has a magnetic on-screen presence and it leaves viewers wanting more. Seeing Yang in a main role or simply a role with more screen time would have added to the overall humor of this film. Conversely, Nunez’s role is hilarious because it’s limited and only interjects itself when needed. It’s a prime example of how vital restraint is in comedy.
Bullock and Tatum have great comedic timing and chemistry. Their exchanges are entertaining to watch, thanks to a humorous and witty script that gives them enough material to work with. Tatum, in particular, doesn’t shy away from any type of humor. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Additionally, Radcliffe injects the correct amount of humor into Fairfax, who dresses like any billionaire with strange whims to dress, much like the Monopoly man. He captures the essence of a billionaire with all the money and power to achieve his goals, which is motivated by his desire to make himself known for something else other than being part of a famously rich family.
Da’Vine Joy Randolph is funny because she’s a funny actress, even though the script borders on making her the sassy black woman for all of her scenes. In a film in which all the stars are white, it’s noticeable that the only woman of color is playing second fiddle to them. While this might not be the movie to make sweeping changes to the genre in terms of realistic representation, it would certainly be an indicator of where casting agencies are at in terms of equality and equity for marginalized groups.
At times, the tone of the film is uneven. There’s moments in which it’s unclear what exactly this character is supposed to be and the growth we’re supposed to be noticing in her, particularly when Sage is talking about or remembering her deceased husband. It’s not a film about grief but in those specific scenes, it appears the screenwriters have simply bitten off more than they could chew with her character.
As funny as the script is, there are moments in which Bullock and Tatum can’t save the millennial-inspired humor from flopping uncomfortably. These moments are few and far between but when they occur it’s obvious. Despite this, the film features moments of less noticeable humor that’s skilled and masterful. Luckily these inconsistencies pop up in scenes with less overall importance to the plot.
In all, The Lost City is fun and light-hearted. It’s worth a view to unwind and get comfortable watching movies in theaters again.
Photo courtesy of Leah Mize/The Minaret.