Friday, July 13

Film Friday: Jungle


Yes, just in case you are wondering, I am doing a bit of a Felton/Radcliffe theme right now. Because I can. 

Yes, I am going to confess. I am one of those people, in that I would probably not have bothered to watch this film if it wasn't for the star. I feel like I should be sorry that I'm not a person who gravitates toward dramatic and important films on the regular. There is a part of me that feels like a better person would. So yes, I confess. I watched this movie because I think Daniel Radcliffe is an enjoyable actor, not because I was so enchanted with the idea of the story in and of itself.

With that out of the way, let's explore Jungle, shall we?

It's based on a true story. (And it important to make that distinction, because "based on" a true story is far different from "inspired by" a true story. [Based on is meant to be more accurate.])

The summary of the story introduction sounds like it belongs in the "stupid tourists" sub-sub genre of horror films: backpacking friends meet a shady dude who offers to take them deep into the Amazon Jungle for real experience and shit. Which they go, because they want to REALLY EXPERIENCE life and The Jungle and such. (Incidentally, the director of this film also directed Wolf Creek.)
And shit goes down.
It starts slowly and continues and eventually through various events, Yossi winds up on his own.
For three fucking weeks, yo.

I have to admire Radcliffe's dedication to...destroying himself? Ugh. He starts off the movie handsome and adorable and by the end he looks like utter shit. I admire that because he didn't have to. CGI could have been used. (Probably to ill effect, but still. It was a possibility.) However, I admire it because hunger in itself can be such a demon. And this was obviously a very physical movie to make. But I admire authenticity and dedication. (Okay, there are some actors who go off the deep end and pull the whole "dead animals and used condoms" shit.) But that wasn't this. You get my point.

The movie is a MOVIE and therefore a lot of the psychological transformation happens through visual things, because film is a visual medium. (Apparently some critics felt too much was done through visual work, not enough...I don't know? Well, if that's what you want - read the book.)

There were things I wished I could know more about.
❖ I wanted to know more about Yossi's relationship with Marcus. How close of friends they were, how long they'd been hanging out together before this happened.
❖ There is a scene where Ghinsberg runs into a jungle woman, and I'd like to know if that was real or another hallucination. (Though perhaps Ghinsberg himself doesn't know.)
❖ I really wish I could know more about the guide, Karl.

Ultimately, I have decided to read the book, because I am genuinely curious to know more about the whole ordeal and perhaps be able to get the answers to these and other questions I have.

And of course, I was impressed that even though I knew the ending, I was still on edge and worried and even though I'd already watched the "behind the scenes" and such before watching the film, I was still grossed out at certain points. Which takes some doing, let me tell you.

I would liked to have seen just a bit more detail as to the relationship of some of the characters, the push and pull for leadership, what was going on in the heads of the three friends.

And finally, though about half to two-thirds of the movie is Daniel Radcliffe in the jungle by himself, I was never bored. And not just because of it being Radcliffe, but because my attention was genuinely held.


Heads Up: Language, Some Drug Use


  1. Huh, I never heard of this one, sounds interesting! But also I have to be in the mood for suspenseful drama things, I always need a comedy chaser, ha.

    Books and movies are VERY different in the way they can tell a story, and expecting one to be like the other is one of my pet peeves.

    There was the one movie, buried? Where I was like, how can they make a whole movie with ONE guy in a box, BUT IT WAS SO RIVETING. Good thing I'm not the person that green lights movies ;)

    1. In this case, weirdly enough, I enjoyed the movie far more than the book. That has only happened a few times before. I was surprised to find that the book only gave out a couple of details that weren't in the movie. I was expecting the book to be gritty and psychological and full of emotional depth and shit and it was actually more of a blow-by-blow journal told in a more exposition-friendly format. The book was decent enough, but after reading it, I'm surprised it got made into a movie, because the movie is far more emotional and gritty and sticks with you and makes you think, where the book is very detached.
      I haven't seen buried(?). I rarely watch dramas, to be honest.