Welcome To The Jungle.

Please note the review below may contain minor spoilers - I've done my best to keep them to a minimum.

From a serial killer patrolling the Australian outback, to a wholly different kind of horror, as Wolf Creek director Greg McLean brings a true survival tale to our screens with the simply titled Jungle.

Based upon a self-authored book of the same name, Jungle tells the arduous - and true - tale of Yossi Ghinsberg (played by Daniel Radcliffe) stranded, alone, and forced to survive within the Amazon rainforest in 1981.

Seeking to break free from the shackled structure and expectations of his homelife in Israel, Yossi springs from the nest, travelling the world as a backpacker, looking to find his own path and adventure along the way.

Whilst travelling in Bolivia, Yossi befriends Marcus (Joel Jackson) a fellow backpacker and freebird, as the pair experience life on the road Marcus introduces Yossi to another acquaintenace of his, Kevin (Alex Russell) an American photographer in persuit of the perfect pictures.

But with their short time together coming to a close, Yossi is approached by the mysterious Karl (Thomas Kretschmann) who spurns tales of gold, lost tribes and a deep amazon expedition to the trio, and he just so happens to be looking for a party to go with.

For quite a while now Iíve lambasted Daniel Radcliffeís acting ability; from his dodgy accent in Horns to something I can only describe as a high school drama when playing his comical portrayal of Igor in Victor Frankenstein, I felt heíd never been able to quite shed that Harry Potter persona, coming across as uncomfortable within his own skin.

Well that spell I can now say, is officially over.

From a spot on Israeli accent, an unkempt bushy visage along with a weight loss regime that would make Christian Bale proud, Radcliffe truly embodies Yossi - his true life counterpart.

And honestly, itís a good job he does, because Jungle - as a film - firmly rests alone upon his shoulders for a good hour of its runtime.

Jungle - (Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Joel Jackson, Yasmin Kassim and Lily Sullivan)

The backdrop supplementing his performance mind you is one of beauty. Itís such a smart decision on director Greg McLeanís part, of choosing to shoot on location in the Colombian jungle, there really is no equivalent counterpart. During the day Jungle is a vibrant, visual feast with lush greenery, fauna and all manner of creatures in purview; but itís at night when that beauty gives way to the true visage beneath the canopy, the nightmarish horrors that unfolds upon Yossi are downright harrowing, and will put any sane person off even thinking about traversing those same steps.

In recent years weíve had a slew of fantastic survival movies; from the ocean spanning with Life of Pi to something a little more humble with the excellent Into The Wild, but what made them truly special was an underlying message, a kind of revelation on life. Jungle is missing that. In fact, it feels too true to life, more akin to a horrible tragedy that occured in ones life.

That's not to say there isnít glimmers of wisdom to glean from within Jungle - from manís hubris and naivety, the innate hidden will to survive and how you may not truly know someone until your lives depend upon it - but it all feels surface, a mere series of unfortunate events that sadly doesnít delve as deep as I would like.

Special Features

Interview With The Cast - Five cast interviews, each between 5 and 15 minutes long with Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Yasmin Kassim and Joel Jackson.

Interview With The Crew - Eight crew interviews, each between 5 and 15 minutes long with director Greg McLean, writer Yossi Ghinsberg, cinematographer Stefan Duscio, production designer Matthew Putland and four producers; each 5 to 15 minutes long.

Becoming Yossi - A 10 minute long featurette focusing on Daniel Radcliffe using much of the above interview footage, discussing his transformation into Yossi, including nailing the accent and physical requirements.

Making the Yossi Ghinsberg Story - A roughly 14 minute long featurette using some behind the scenes footage and small tidbits of the above cast interview footage discussing the arduous process on location and the journey Yossi went on to get Jungle made.

If thereís one thing to say about Jungle, itís that it has a ton of extra content to watch - at least two hours worth in fact. Whilst the absence of a directorís commentary is noted, and the interview footage itself is pretty shoddily edited, it still makes the Blu-ray or DVD version of Jungle the primary purchase for anyone wishing to partake in Jungle.

I'm happy to report that Jungle is not only quite the beautiful film, but also marks the best performance of Daniel Radcliffe's career. A full character turn of both body and mind.

As a film Jungle makes all the right moves - with a healthy amount of extra content packed into its special features - but sadly doesn't quite live up to the bar set by previous survival films in the genre, lacking a payoff that'll stay with you after long after your trek within is over.

A Blu-ray review copy of Jungle was provided by the distributor for review purposes.

  • Review by
    David Robinson

    Twitter: @5ypher

    Posted on
    12th January 2018

  • 3 Out of 5 Stars
  • Lack of revelation

    No director's commentary

  • Daniel Radcliffe

    Beautiful location

    Special features

Film Info

Jungle Jungle
Rating: 15
Release Date: 1st January
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
Director: MGreg McClean
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Thomas Kretschmann, Joel Jackson, Yasmin Kassim & Lily Sullivan

  • Into The Wild
  • Life of Pi
  • 6 Below

No, there are scenes of animal abuse and gore.

The film was first brought to the attention of Hollywood back in the early 90's. But after a failed production that was all set to film, writer and survivor Yossi Ghinsberg gave up in trying to get it made.

Filming in Jungle is split between Colombia and Australia.

In order to lose the weight needed, Daniel Radcliffe went on a strict diet of one chicken breast and one protein bar per day.