Tourists run into trouble in this true story from the director of Wolf Creek. That, of course, was another true story of survival against seemingly insurmountable odds and danger. But, thankfully, the similarities to that gruelling Aussie horror (in which three unfortunates get caught and tortured by a psychopath deep in the outback) end there.
Sure, Jungle is itself about survival, but it’s an engaging tale of adventure not sadism.
It’s based on the book by Yossi Ghinsberg, who’s played here by Daniel Radcliffe. While perhaps not the most obvious choice for a non-English explorer, Radcliffe does a good job as the wide-eyed young traveller who goes excitedly and naively trekking in the Amazon rainforest.
And before the fateful part of the trip, there’s plenty of backpacking fun to keep fans of The Beach happy. (Thankfully without any All Saints on the soundtrack.) Yossi runs into a bohemian Swiss traveller who introduces him to charismatic American photographer Kevin (Alex Russell). A brief, temporary spell of blissful bonhomie follows, across an array of ever-more beautiful locations.
Of course, danger looms. In the first of many poor decisions, the three new chums place their trust in a stranger, Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), who offers to guide them through the jungle. Let’s just say their preparations would not impress Bear Grylls. Injuries slow them and tensions soon arise. One of them (guess who?) ends up alone, struggling to survive…
Frankly, more time could have been spent developing the bond between the men, but it’s a strong, tense, real-life story that is ultimately a gripping weepie bromance, and you don’t see one of those every day.
The bottom line
Harry Potter goes all Bear Grylls on us. Fun.