Jungle {Melbourne International Film Festival} – Film Review

Jungle is an adventure survival thriller based on the real-life story of Yossi Ghinsberg. Wanting the most authentic holiday experience possible, three friends find themselves joining a guide, trekking through the Bolivian jungle in search for an uncharted Indian village.

When I heard about “Jungle” having its world premiere at the Melbourne International Film Festival, I leaped at the opportunity to see it. Like many, I love Daniel Radcliffe for his Harry Potter accomplishments, but I was hungry to see him in something new. I also wanted to see a film by Greg McClean who made a name for himself ten years ago with his film “Wolf Creek”, also launched at the Melbourne International Film Festival. With the combined talents of Daniel Radcliffe and Greg McClean, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get. Nevertheless, I was not disappointed.

Jungle is a solid thriller. I found myself squirming in my seat as were most of the audience, covering my mouth a lot during anxiety-inducing moments, shaking my head when I disagreed with the decisions of the characters and at one point placing my hands on my head and almost pulling at my own hair in shock, frustration and disbelief.

I found Jungle to be a superb piece of storytelling. You really feel for Yossi who is played by Daniel Radcliffe. You want him to escape the jungle, but at the same time you don’t pity him for getting lost based on his decisions. Remembering that this film is based on a true story, I can’t even begin to comprehend how difficult it would have been to survive the experience of being alone, lost in the jungle and can understand Greg McClean’s decisions on how he portrayed Yossi slowly losing his mind.

I was so thoroughly impressed by this film that during the Q&A and after, I got to speak to director Greg McClean. He discussed that Jungle took 17 weeks to film in total, dividing time between Colombia and Queensland, Australia. And he lightheartedly laughed over being glad that the insurance companies didn’t know the detail of the stunts that they did with Daniel Radcliffe during filming. I managed to shake his hand and thank him for an amazing piece of work that Jungle turned out to be and was absolutely delighted because it’s not often you can go to a film, love it and be able to thank the director after.

I highly recommend seeing Jungle when it arrives at a cinema near you. At present, there are still a few screenings of Jungle in Victoria thanks to the Melbourne International Film Festival. However, release dates for Jungle nationwide and internationally have not been confirmed as yet. I strongly suggest that when Jungle does arrive that you do see it.

Daniel Radcliffe shines in this Greg McClean masterpiece. It’s chillingly based on truth, a must watch, and I promise you, the wait will be worth it.

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