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Review: Jungle

Jungle
10.20.2017
8 10

PLOT: A group of tourists decide to make their way into the Bolivian jungle. As they trek deeper into the mysterious Amazon, they find that the elements are far more dangerous than they had expected.

REVIEW: After years of playing Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe has truly emerged as one of the most exciting leading man/character actors in Hollywood. At 28 years of age, he has recently played an FBI agent uncovering Nazis in IMPERIUM and a corpse in SWISS ARMY MAN; and let us not forget his work as “The Dogwalker” in TRAINWRECK. Either way, it is clear Mr. Radcliffe isn’t going for the typical leading man roles, and that is usually a good thing. In his latest, Greg McLean’s survivalist action tale JUNGLE, the actor goes through an emotionally and physically draining experience portraying real life survivor, Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli adventurer who found himself lost in the Bolivian Amazon jungle for three weeks.

When we first meet Yossi (Radcliffe) he is traveling the world in search of adventure. Along his jouney he befriends fellow traveler Marcus (Joel Jackson) and his friend Kevin (Alex Russell). In search of something more than just your typical tourist spots, Yossi meets Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), a tour guide who promises to take them to a hidden Indian village. However, as the four men begin their journey, the elements of the Amazon prove to be decidely more treacherous than they had imagined. Soon, they are separated, and Yossi is left to battle fatigue, hunger and solitude in a world where nearly everything in his path brings danger and the possibility of death.

jungle yossi ghinsberg daniel radcliffe thomas kretschmann greg mclean alex russell joel jackson

One of the most successful aspects of JUNGLE is the cast. Not only do you have Radcliffe, but you also have terrific work from Russell, Jackson and Kretschmann. It is the camaraderie of the explorers that help keep the viewer invested in their plight. One of the biggest surprises here is Russell as Kevin, the character plays a major role in Yossi’s story, and the actor adds just the right element of frustration and desperation. However, all the performances here are quite good, and it all revolves around Radcliffe’s Yossi. It is quite incredible how perfectly the actor disappears into this role, this includes the accent as well as his look and mannerisms. This is yet another fantastic example as to why the actor made such an easy transition into adult roles.

As a filmmaker, Greg McLean has a knack for shooting stunningly majestic locations, and having that play a huge part in his work. After all, the WOLF CREEK franchise has certainly given us an impressive look at the beauty of Austrailia - JUNGLE was shot throughout Austrailia, Columbia and Bolivia and looks incredible as well. However, the horror and darkness here is simply the Amazon and all the creatures and obstacles it brings. Unlike WOLF CREEK, JUNGLE is a far more grounded story. In fact, this survivalist adventure is unlike anything the director has done before. If you are looking for horror, you won’t find that here - well, aside from a pretty gruesome image involving a bump on Yossi’s head. This is more about inspiration and survival as opposed to desperation and scares. 

jungle daniel radcliffe greg mclean joel jackson yossi ghinsberg thomas kretschmann alex russell

Based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s own account, this is a solid adaptation thanks to a screenplay written by Justin Monjo. Running just under two hours, don’t expect a massive blockbuster style adventure. JUNGLE manages to do quite a bit with its modest budget. Aside from a couple of odd editing choices early in the film, there is much to admire here. And once the four men set off on the adventure, it is an incredible journey to take. With enough time spent with Yossi, Kevin and Marcus early on, it gives the audience a better appreciation of just who these men are. It also helps that McLean and cinematographer Stefan Duscio manage to bring the devastating beauty of this forbidden land to life.

JUNGLE is a small and satisfying man versus nature adventure. This is a true story, one that presents the tale of Yossi Ghinsberg and his three week fight for survival spent in the mysterious Amazon. However, if you are a fan of McLean’s more brutal work, don’t expect this to be anywhere near the gore and shock factor that you'll find visiting an old friend like 'Mick Taylor.' This is a tale of survival that appropriately brings more hope than horror, and that is not a bad thing. The new film is also yet another chance for Daniel Radcliffe to disappear into a role and take on challenging material. He is surrounded by a very talented group of actors who help make this adventure one worth taking. Look out for JUNGLE this week on VOD or in limited theatrical release.

 

Source: JoBlo.com

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