Jungle (2017) Rated: R Runtime: 115 minute
els – 5.5/10
IMDb – 6.7/10
Amazon – 4.5/5 stars
Rotten Tomatoes Critics – 5.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience – 3.7/5
Metacritic Metascore – 48/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.4/10
Directed by: Greg McLean
Written by: Yossi Ghinsberg and Justin Monjo
Produced by: Todd Fellman, Mike Gabrawy, Gary Hamilton
Music by: Johnny Klimek
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Thomas Kretschmann, Alex Russell, Adrian Rawlins
Jungle, the movie, based on the 2005 autobiographical memoir: Jungle: A Harrowing True Story of Survival by Yossi Ghinsberg; illustrates the fateful adventure, through the Bolivian jungle, of 3 young, adrenaline seeking friends and their enigmatic guide. The guide (Adrian Rawlins, of James Potter fame in the Harry Potter movies) convinces a gullible and naive Yossi, played by Radcliffe, to join him on an ill-defined quest for lost villages and gold; through uncharted mountainous terrain of sheer cliffs and rugged slopes, networks of clogged vegetative mazes, deep-valley rivers of contesting demeanor; lethargic, sleepy flows metastasizing to rabid, boiling waters jetting past plane sized boulders in a few accelerated heartbeats; matching ones physical and psychological endurance against a wild, relentless, and unsympathetic jungle.
One of the many weak and feeble points in the screenplay and direction is how Yossi manages to convince his mates to join him on this expedition of folly with an unknown guide of dubious qualifications. It was definitely an unconvincing sales pitch while watching the film. Being a true story I’ll acknowledge that it happened, however the suspension of disbelief could have been strengthened tremendously with the use of artistic license, maybe having all involved brain addled by booze and drugs, rather than relying on Yossi’s Harry Potter smile to reach a unanimous agreement to commit trekking suicide. The guide is easily the most interesting personality in the movie, but his character development and origins are glossed over; using him merely as a tool to get the show going. Too bad. A final mention of a perceived flaw was the filming of the death inducing rafting through the river’s rapids. I can create more convincing white-water in my bathtub than what I observed on the screen.
Radcliffe’s acting ability has improved leaps and bounds since the days of Harry Potter, but he still can’t present raw, unbridled emotion worth a damn. The scenes of fist pounding angst should have been left on the cutting room floor, to the vast improvement of the film. Radcliffe will never be a great lead actor; a supporting role will provide him well through his career though, if he wisely choses to go that route.
Jungle is a tolerable flick, not a must see, but worth a few hours of your time on a lazy rainy day.