A group of young friends trek deep into the Bolivian jungle in search of a lost Indian village, but, along the way, find that the journey is not all successes, and a fight for survival becomes paramount.
Based on the true story (and bestselling memoir), Jungle follows the late 1980’s adventure of young Israeli backpacker, Yossi Ghinsberg, as he is drawn into the secretive beauty of the Bolivian rainforest. While wandering through the streets of the local village he meets Karl, a mysterious Austrian man claiming to be a geologist, who promises the young adventurer a once-in-a-life-time trek through the uncharted Bolivian wilderness in search of a lost tribe of indigenous people. Yossi, determined to make this trek happen, convinces his two hesitant male companions to join him and they set out on their treacherous journey deep into the Bolivian jungle.
At first, the group, and the audience, are in complete awe of the un-touched nature of wilderness surrounding them, but, unsurprisingly, the trip starts to become much more treacherous and tension grows between the males within the humid and formidable jungle. As these tensions reach boiling point, the group decides to split up, and from there, things become worse than they all could have imagined.
Greg McLean, Australian director of the cult-hit, Wolf Creek, takes on a similar, yet very different, survival plotline, where instead of a crazed serial killer, the threat to survival is nature itself. McLean emphasises the never-ending expanse of jungle through many over-arching shots of the green landscape that seems to run on forever. Yossi, and the group’s plight is continually put into perspective by these sweeping panoramic views of the South American jungle, as hope for the group’s survival grows smaller and smaller by the minute.
This is definitely not a film for the squeamish, with close up shots of feet that have been rotting in sweaty boots, half-developed bird foetuses, burnt, half-eaten monkey corpses, and the very real image of Yossi removing worm-like bugs from the skin of his forehead. If you have an issue with any of that, be sure to have your hands up to your eyes, ready for the next torturously painful hurdle that the jungle throws at the group.
Daniel Radcliffe takes on the role of protagonist Yossi and does a decent job portraying the young adventurer on his unforgettable journey. At some points though his British accent slips through cracks within the script, and he stumbles somewhat in the role of the Israeli backpacker. Radcliffe’s transformation, though, from fit and healthy young man to a terrifyingly thin bag of bones, is impressive, showing his dedication to the role, and providing the audience with a haunting idea of what seventeen days in the jungle alone can do to you.
Australian actor, Alex Russel, plays the brave, yet arrogant, American photographer Kevin, whose large ego becomes a massive detriment to the group when coming up against the knowledgeable group leader, Karl. Russel does a great job of taking on the American accent, alongside the portrayal of an American who thinks he knows more than everyone else, and who also has a fierce temper hiding inside of him that he is not afraid to unleash on even his friends.
Jungle will take you on an adventure through the unchartered Bolivian rainforest in this re-telling of a terrifying true story. If you’re in the mood for a good man vs. nature survival flick, then this one is for you.
Check out the official site here.