Jungle (2017 film)
|Directed by||Greg McLean|
|Produced by||Todd Fellman|
|Screenplay by||Justin Monjo|
by Yossi Ghinsberg
|Music by||Johnny Klimek|
|Edited by||Sean Lahiff|
Cutting Edge Group
|Distributed by||Umbrella Entertainment|
|Box office||$1.9 million|
Jungle is a 2017 Australian biographical survival drama film, based on the true story of Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg's 1981 journey into the Amazon rainforest. Directed by Greg McLean and written by Justin Monjo, the film stars Daniel Radcliffe as Ghinsberg, with Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Yasmin Kassim, Joel Jackson, and Jacek Koman in supporting roles. It was released in Australia on 9 November 2017, by Umbrella Entertainment.
In early 1980s, an Israeli adventurer named Yossi Ghinsberg travels to Bolivia planning to journey into the heart of the Amazon rainforest. There, he meets Marcus Stamm, a Swiss school teacher, and his friend Kevin Gale, an American hiker and avid photographer. The three are staying in La Paz, at an Israeli community hostel. Yossi is out in the market one day where a stranger asks if he is an American; Yossi replies ”no”.
During conversation the Austrian stranger, Karl Ruprechter, claims the existence of an indigenous tribe in the jungle that they should go see. Karl says he knows the jungle, and he is friends with the tribe.
Yossi, excited about the prospect of exploring the uncharted jungle and meeting undiscovered peoples like the Toromonas, chooses to believe him. He heads back to the apartment to convince Marcus and Kevin to come along. Skeptical of the stranger and his story, they refuse. Yossi continues to press them until they ultimately acquiesce.
The next day, the trio meets Karl in a shop while he is gathering supplies for the hike. All three men are surprised when Karl leaves with the supplies and tells them they will pay for everything.
Yossi, Marcus, Kevin, and Karl hike through the jungle for several days. They make it to a village called Asriamas where it is apparent Karl knows the villagers. They spend the day in the village and stay overnight, then head back into the jungle the next morning.
Marcus starts having trouble walking and discovers his feet are full of bloody sores. By now Kevin and Yossi are tired of Marcus' complaining.
Yossi, Kevin, and Karl discuss how they all should proceed. Karl wants to leave the three while he goes and gets help, but Kevin and Yossi disagree with that plan. At this point Marcus walks up, and Kevin proposes building a raft to navigate downriver so all of them can stay together. (This differs from Ghinsberg's actual account, where the four return all the way to Asriamas before deciding to make the raft with the help of the villagers.)
They build the raft and set off down the river. They hit some rapids, barely making it through. Karl gets upset at Kevin for taking control on the raft, floats the raft to shore, and says he is going hunting. Kevin had noticed Karl's fear of water and deduces that Karl cannot swim. Yossi then goes to find Karl, so he will not abandon them.
Marcus and Karl decide to abandon the journey and make the three-day hike back to civilization where they can then return to La Paz. Meanwhile, Yossi and Kevin continue their journey downriver until their makeshift raft is destroyed in a rapids.
Yossi is washed away by the river, leaving Kevin behind. Without a knife, tools, or any kind of survival training, Yossi must improvise shelter and forage to survive. He begins to give up hope after losing all sense of direction, wondering if he will survive the jungle.
Meanwhile, Kevin is rescued by people from a nearby town who take him to Rurrenabaque, 120 miles from Yossi's location, Curiplaya. At Rurrenabaque, Kevin calls for the help of the local authorities to find Yossi. They fail to find Yossi via a plane flyover, but Kevin believes that Yossi is alive. Kevin ropes in the help of the local boat pilot to search for Yossi, finally discovers his weakened friend, and takes him to Rurrenabaque.
The epilogue reveals that Karl lied about the hidden tribes, was known to rope backpackers into dangerous treks, and was wanted by the authorities. He and Marcus never returned to La Paz and were never seen again. The film was dedicated to Marcus's memory.
- Daniel Radcliffe as Yossi Ghinsberg
- Alex Russell as Kevin Gale
- Thomas Kretschmann as Karl Ruprechter
- Yasmin Kassim as Kina
- Joel Jackson as Marcus Stamm
- Jacek Koman as Moni Ghinsberg
- Lily Sullivan as Amie
- Angie Milliken as Stela
- Joey Vieira as Black Jack
- Paris Moletti as Bolivian
- Luis Jose Lopez as Tico
On 10 February 2016, Daniel Radcliffe joined the cast. On 21 March 2016, Thomas Kretschmann and Alex Russell also joined the cast. Principal photography began on 19 March 2016 and ended on 13 April 2016.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 60%, based on 53 reviews, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Daniel Radcliffe does right by Jungle's fact-based story with a clearly committed performance, even if the film around him doesn't always match his efforts." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 48 out of 100, based on 14 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Writing for The A.V. Club, Alex McLevy gave the film a B−, praising Radcliffe's acting commitment and the shock of some of the scenes but wrote, "Unfortunately, the movie too often can’t resist leaning into the melodrama of the situation. Rather than allowing the power to come from the raw intensity of what transpired, it occasionally turns Ghinsberg’s journey into a Hollywood spectacle, making the incredible seem a little less so in the process." Dread Central's Jonathan Barkan gave the film 4.5 out of 5, saying that it was, "without a doubt, the most thrilling, exhilarating, and inspiring film I've seen this year."
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