If you’ve ever dreamt of adventuring to the mysterious depths of the Amazon rainforest, this film may make you want to think again. Jungle tells the terrifying true story of one young man’s 17-day fight for survival in this very place. Israeli Yossi Ghinsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) has a thirst for adventure, and so he leaves a safe future behind to go travelling. Wanting to go one step further, he and two fellow adventurers Kevin (Alex Russell) and Marcus, (Joel Jackson) agree to follow a self-appointed jungle expert into the Amazon rainforest for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
What starts out as an epic adventure soon becomes a harrowing fight for survival as Yossi finds himself lost and alone in one of the harshest environments known to man. Jungle is an utterly nail-biting film, and will keep you firmly on the edge of your seat. Daniel Radcliffe gives a great performance as the young and naive adventure seeker Yossi, with the physical ravages visible to see. Radcliffe starved himself in real life too, losing a considerable amount of weight to portray the emaciated Israeli, proving much dedication to the role. It is one of his most transformative performances to date, showing he is not just a one trick pony.
Director Greg McLean successfully draws in the audience, making you feel like you are going through the experience with Yossi. As the effects of thirst and starvation begin to take their toll it is not just his body that deteriorates but his mind also, and he starts to suffer from severe hallucinations. McLean portrays them to look and feel as real as they did to Yossi at the time making the audience also question reality. It is very effective at giving you a real insight into Yossi’s ordeal and a realisation that it was just as much a psychological fight for survival as it was a physical one.
This also allows the audience to connect with his character and you will find yourself willing him to keep going. We feel the same gut-wrenching disappointment he feels each time he experiences a devastating set back, especially when the one and only plane sent to rescue him fails to see him. The scene where Yossi is eventually rescued is very powerful and intense indeed, with the potential of so narrowly missing his last chance of rescue and ultimately survival.
Jungle was filmed on location which inevitably means the film boasts some rather impressive cinematography. You’ll see breath-taking views of the Amazon rainforest and the wildlife that thrives there. It will also make you see why it is so hard to survive there. The film boasts a great soundtrack too. Music is used to express Yossi’s state of mind during his psychological battle and is successful in creating tension during some very intense scenes.
Based on the book of the same name written by Yossi himself, it is an incredible and inspiring true story of survival that everyone should watch. Yossi was also very much involved in the making of the film, there hasn’t been any Hollywood makeovers or tweaking for entertainment, the story is powerful enough all on its own. It’s also a stark warning to anyone planning to venture off the beaten path. After watching Jungle, an all-inclusive holiday in Spain never sounded so appealing.
Jungle is available on DVD from 1st January.
Dir: Greg McLean
Prd: Todd Fellman, Mike Gabrawy, Gary Hamilton, Mark Lazarus, Dana Lustig, Greg McLean
Scr: Justin Monjo
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann
Music by: Johnny Klimek
Country: Australia, Colombia