JUNGLE (2017) - Review by Kumaran Shanmugam
Must watch movie for Adventure buffs
Jungle is a true story based on the experiences of Israeli backpacker Yossi Ginsberg.
In 1980 Yossi an Israeli coming of age youth with an insatiable appetite for adventure visits Bolivia to explore the Amazon rainforest. In la Paz capital of Bolivia, he gets acquainted with Marcus Stamm a Swiss teacher and Kevin gale a hiker and Nature Photographer. Yossi meets a shady character by name Karl Ruprechter who informs about the existence of a lost Indian tribe nestled in the interior of the Amazon forest. Yossi is captivated by Karl's narration and decides to explore the place. He returns to the hotel and attempts to convince Markus and Kevin to accompany him in the proposed expedition led by Karl. Initially, his pals were skeptical about the genuineness of Karl but eventually succumbed to Yossi's constant persuasion. They met Karl in the marketplace and shopped for adventure gear necessary for the expedition.
The next day all four of them left La Paz and journeyed into the interior of the Amazon forest. The expedition in the very early stages itself proved to be treacherous and daunting for the novices. They camped overnight in a tribal village whose inhabitants were known to Karl. The next day they continued their trekking. Marcus developed bloody sores in his feet and became a liability for continuing the journey. Karl volunteered to return to La Paz to get some help for Marcus. But Yossi and Kevin refused to be left alone in an uncharted territory and in order to ease their journey and give rest to Marcus 's feet they built a raft and journeyed downstream in the river. This faster mode of transport took them closer to their target but at the cost of encountering many life-threatening rapids in the treacherous river.
Unable to sustain the travail of the expedition Marcus accompanied by Karl bid farewell to the other two and retraced their journey back home. Yossi and Kevin continued rafting down the river. On the way, they encounter a rapid and Yossi is tossed from the raft and washed away and Kevin barely survives by swimming ashore and is rescued by villagers. Yossi is hit on the head by a rock and loses consciousness. When he recovers he finds himself washed ashore with a deep gash in his forehead and completely covered in mud.
Exhausted from the ordeal Yossi slips into a deep sleep which provides him the much-needed rest. Upon waking up he feels rejuvenated and musters enough courage to trek his way out. Deprived of any survival kit and compass for the direction he feels totally lost in the jungle. The frustration deepens when he realizes that he is encircling the same path again and again with no progression. Lack of nutrition and energy affects his mentation and he experiences visual hallucinations. The deep gash in the forehead becomes infested by parasites which he removes using an improvised sharp object. In order to revive his energy, he subjects himself to be stung by forest ants and the stinging pain stimulates him to progress despite his weakening body and dead spirits.
He accidentally falls into a quagmire and struggles to keep afloat and starts sinking. Miraculously he survives by clutching to a branch and extricates himself to safety from the mud pool. Totally covered by mud and unrecognizable he crawls to the river bed and falls into a deep sleep out of exhaustion. His body covered with mud is camouflaged in the muddy river bank unidentifiable by anyone unless anybody movement is noticed.
Meanwhile, Kevin rescued by the villagers recuperates in the village hospital. After a couple of days, he is discharged. The first thing he does is arranging for a search mission to locate Yossi. After two low altitude reconnaissance helicopter missions proved futile due to the density of the forest canopy, poor visibility, and unfavorable weather conditions.
Kevin strongly believed that Yossi is still very much alive and having failed to impress the local authorities for further search operations, he sorts the help of a local fisherman who initially refused to help but on coaxing and cajoling him with monetary benefits he eventually accepted the proposal and took Kevin in his canoe downstream. The duo spends one whole day searching every possible nook and corner for Yossi and randomly yelling his name at the places where they felt Yossi would have ventured. The search operation proved futile and they decided to return. But by a stroke of luck, Kevin noticed something moving in the muddy river bank and decided to have a closer look. He was overjoyed to see the emaciated body of Yossi lying on the mud struggling to get up.
Kevin rushed and lifted his friend and they both embraced each other rightly. Tears of joy rolled out of their eyes. Kevin shifted Yossi and made him lie in the canoe. The duo return to the village. Yossi is given a bath and fed with water and nutritious food by the villagers. Overwhelmed by the hospitality and affection showered by the villagers the adventurers thanked them and bid farewell, flew back to La Paz and eventually returned to their respective families.
The sad fact is that until today it is unknown what happened to Marcus and Karl.
Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame has nicely graduated from his boyish roles to a mature adult role in this film. He has excelled in acting as Yossi and has taken a lot of pain and hard work to acquire the emaciated look of a lost adventurer.
THE JUNGLE (2017) - Trailer
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