Welcome To The Jungle
Based on a true story, Jungle is a psychologically thrilling survival film that does a great job depicting main character Yossi (Daniel Radcliffe) struggling alone in the jungle. The other 3 characters that join him are lacklustre and never given the time to gel making the beginning of the expedition awkward and disjointed to some degree. Thankfully, these scenes don’t go on for too long and led by Radcliffe’s incredible performance, Jungle is an enjoyable flick that does a great job showing the harshness of being lost in the jungle.
The plot follows Yossi and his friends as they enlist the help of a survivalist to guide them through the Bolivian jungle on a trip off the beaten path. Undoubtedly, things go wrong and before long fractures in the group appear and Yossi finds himself alone in the jungle. Without provisions and days away from the rainy season, what transpires is a race against time to try to regroup with his friends and get to the nearest inhabited area before it’s too late.
Radcliffe’s charismatic, incredible performance as Yossi really helps to root for him and the story works best when it slows during the middle and latter period of the film that focus on him. The beginning of Jungle is a little too fast paced; within fifteen minutes we’re introduced to all four characters and they begin trekking through the jungle. Whilst it’s obviously good this wasn’t dragged out, a further ten minutes or so to get to know each of the characters and giving the audience a reason to care about anyone other that Yossi would have helped Jungle a lot. It’s still an enjoyable film without this, but it also consequently means we only care about Yossi, not about the other characters trekking through the jungle.
Technically, Jungle is really impressively shot. Numerous breathtaking scenes depicting the beautiful jungle via aerial and crane shots help soak in the beauty of the location; aesthetically there’s no denying that this is a very nicely shot film. The lush greens and browns that dominate the landscape for vast periods of the film juxtapose nicely with the warm, orange fires in the evening and bright blues of the sky or river during the day. The hedonistic, hallucinogenic scenes boast some really creative and bizarre camera angles that just give the film something a little different too.
Whilst Jungle certainly isn’t a flawless film, there’s enough here to make this an enjoyable flick that accurately depicts the harshness of the wild Bolivian jungle. The lack of characterisation and empathy toward the other 3 characters is a little disappointing; the fast pace that dominates the beginning is the main culprit of this. Radcliffe’s performance as Yossi manages to overshadow the imperfections well, effortlessly depicting Yossi’s descent into madness and never breaking from the realistic accent he adopts. As an adventure survival film, Jungle thrives and its here that the film really shines but the pacing issues and characterisation of the supporting cast hold this back from being the great film it so easily could have been.