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UK 1985
Directed by
John Boorman
113 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Emerald Forest

Although some viewers may be critical of Boorman's mythicising of the "primitive" as a garden of Eden, for its depiction of the South American jungle and its inhabitants, The Emerald Forest is a striking piece of film-making - not in the league of Werner Herzog's famous South American trilogy but worth consideration.

Loosely based on a true story and set in Brazil it tells of a boy (William Rodriguez) who is abducted by an indigenous tribe called The Invisible People during a picnic on the edge of the jungle. His father (Powers Boothe), a civil engineer for a dam project that is destroying the rainforest, spends the next ten years searching for his son, finally finding him (now played by Boorman's son, Charley) as he is about to marry a young girl of the tribe,  Much to the father’s consternation his son shows no interest in returning to civilization and eventually the Dad comes to realize that he is probably right not to do so.

Ultimately Boorman’s concern is the plight of the indigenous Brazilian population and he shows this effectively within the format of the action adventure yarn. Indeed this is the real strength of the film, it being a testament to Boorman’s skill (and not a little to the spirited performance of his son) that he manages to pull off (the Thunderbirds-like collapsing dam sequence notwithstanding) what could have been a very embarrassing affair.




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