Daniel Radcliffe has become an increasingly popular figure in indie cinema, his Harry Potter cachet allowing directors to secure funding for their weirdest pet projects. How else to explain last year’s excellent Swiss Army Man, in which his reanimated corpse farted its way through a movie that baffled and amused those brave enough to stump up for a ticket?
It doesn’t look like the actor is in for an easier time of it in Greg McLean’s (Wolf Creek) survival horror film Jungle, which has just had its first trailer released. Based on the book by Yossi Ginsberg, which chronicles the author’s real-life survival story when he was stranded in the Amazon jungle for three weeks in 1981, the movie promises to be an intense thriller in which Radcliffe must contend with the might of Mother Nature.
At the opening of the trailer, backpacker Radcliffe is asked whether he’s ever been to the ‘real’ jungle, which prompts a journey into the wilderness with a mysterious guide. Unspecified bad things happen, causing him to become lost and alone in the middle of nowhere, wholly dependent on his intelligence and luck to survive.
For my money, this trailer has more than a whiff of Werner Herzog to it. The Amazonian jungle setting recalls his work in Aguirre: The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo and the story of jungle survival was covered in his documentary Wings of Hope. Let’s hope that McLean has kept Herzog’s jungle ramblings in mind:
“Nature here is vile and base. I wouldn’t see anything erotic here. I would see fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival and… growing and… just rotting away. Of course, there’s a lot of misery. But it is the same misery that is all around us. The trees here are in misery, and the birds are in misery. I don’t think they – they sing. They just screech in pain.”
Presumably, Radcliffe’s character will soon be screeching along with them.
Jungle doesn’t have a release date just yet, but I’ll be first in line when it opens. This looks like compelling cinema.