The Emerald Forest

Posted by on Monday, June 27th, 2005

The Emerald Forest

Netflix recommended this movie to me because I liked Excalibur, so I took a chance.  The same writing and directing team made this film, which claims to be an adaptation of a true story of a man whose son is kidnapped by an Amazonian tribe and the man’s attempts to find and reclaim his son.  Powers Boothe plays the civil engineer father, and a young Charley Boorman (director John Boorman’s son, the young Modred from Excalibur, and Ewan McGregor’s co-rider in the Long Way Round) plays the adult son raised in Amazonia by the tribe who kidnapped him.  I have no idea how close to the truth any of the pseudo-anthropology is, but this film was a visual treat.  It is beautifully shot; traditional Amazonian ritual, dress, and culture seem to be treated with respect; and the central story makes it very difficult to see either white or Amazonian culture or Tommy’s birth or adoptive father as perfect and good.  It’s as if a National Geographic film was mixed up with a British action film.

As an aside, viewers will either be pleased, displeased, or indifferent over the amount of nudity in the film.  The Amazonian tribes-people are, as they should be, nearly maked through the film.  There are no graphic love scenes and the actors are all shot respectfully, but I know some folks are not interested in bringing two hours of nudity into their homes, no matter the subject matter.  Being neither a 12 year-old boy nor a prude, I forgot they were all naked pretty quickly.

And as another aside, this movie is kind of like The Wickerman, but on a different continent and without the nasty ending.  Yes yes, I know The Wickerman is an awful movie according to almost everyone who has seen it, but I love it so pipe down.  Folks who appreciate mythology and camp and skew towards primitivism and tree-hugging and dirt worshipping love the Wickerman and would probably love Emerald Forest.

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