Film: Rumble in the jungle

Written By: Rita Di Santo
Published: November 14, 2017 Last modified: November 16, 2017

Jungle
Director: Greg McLean

Dark, exotic, and harrowing, Jungle is an enthralling adventure based on the experiences of young Israeli, Yossi Ghinsberg, who in 1981 spent weeks lost in the Bolivian jungle. Led by the charismatic Karl Ruprechter, Ginsberg and his two companions, Kevin Gale and Marcus Stamm, journey into the unknown, but what begins as the realisation of a dream soon turns into a harrowing psychological fight for survival where men crawl the line somewhere between human and animal, natural and ­unnatural, civilised and wild.

Daniel Radcliffe convinces as Ghinsberg, who transforms from clean-cut good boy to wild, barely-human savage by the end of his ordeal.

Director Greg McLean, best known for Wolf Creek, examines the encounter with the darkest side of the jungle in realistic, stomach-churning detail, up close with skin-burrowing, blood-sucking worms, hungry jaguars, scorpions, spiders and poison snakes, but fails to capture Ghinsberg’s greatest challenge, the one he faces within and not around him.

Ultimately the adventure stays closer to the Robinson Crusoe model than, say, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, which suggests it may be aimed at a younger audience. It serves at least to remind viewers of the extraordinary and vital habitat of the Amazon rainforest, an ancestral land that happens to be the richest place on the planet in terms of biodiversity, where indigenous people still maintain their identity.