Yossi Ghinsberg’s Jungle
Finally a movie about a solo traveler. Which everyone of us, at one point in our lives would like to become. Travelling alone to another country, wandering in their streets takes courage, that I’d have to say by experience. And going into the jungle for a dangerous adventure with a bunch of people you met not more than few weeks ago is simply crazy. I really liked the movie and how Daniel Radcliffe has done an amazing job to portray the adventure traveler, Yossi Ghinsberg.
** Spoiler Alert **
The movie is about a young Israeli traveler who’s backpacking in Bolivia during the mid 80’s. He meets this stranger tourist in a dodgy street and he speaks about a lost tribe in the Amazon. Yossi gets very excited about the adventures the stranger told him and convince his two friends to join him in this extremely hard trekking trip. The movie is about how these four travelers face the unimaginable extremes of the jungle and overcome their fears.
There’re so many things for a solo traveler or backpackers to learn from this movie. The most important one is that there can be many scams lying around waiting for you. And never completely believe in things only exists in someone’s imagination. If you’re an adventure seeking traveler, it might be really hard to just forget about all the adrenaline pumping action and just walk wherever other tourists would visit. You need to do something which anybody will never do. That’s what Yossi wanted to do. And somehow he convince his friends to tag along.
The next thing you will get to know from this movie and in real live experience is that in every group, there’s one weak link. This weak link will jinx your adventure and delay your plans. In this group of travelers, Marcus becomes the weak link that brings bad luck to the group. Because of him, their plans to complete the trek before the jungle’s rainy season goes down the drain. But the other never give up on him until the last moment. After a while, the team decide to split and take their desired ways to the destination. And the more adventure loving Yossi and Kevin takes the rugged river down. Which I thought was a bad decision they made. It doesn’t take much time for them to realize they made a wrong turn.
The next thing that will haunts you is the scary mother nature. Even though this is an Indie movie, the movie makers have done a successful job to show the real horrors of the jungle as it is. “Jungle” being the title of this movie, it gives the best idea how it really is. I remember reading something similar to “You and I can be standing in London and Istanbul, but in Amazon, we are in the same jungle”, in Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That gives the idea of how big of an area we are talking about.
The next thing that you will see in the movie is how loneliness would affect you in such a situation. By loneliness I mean, not seeing, hearing, touching or even smelling another human being in the vicinity for couple of days. And not just that, the mother nature sending its children to beat you to death. Here to Yossi, rain becomes the biggest bully. Some of you might have come across Discovery Channel’s famous documentary, Man vs Wild starring the veteran Bear Grylls. In this show he does the unthinkable to show us what to do in a situation like this. But most of us watch this in disgust. This movie would help you to understand that Grylls’s methods actually works in a survival situation like Yossi’s. But after couple of days of no proper food, cloths or shelter, Yossi starts to lose it. The whole time, the only thing Yossi believed was himself, now starts to play tricks on him. Eventually he stops believing what he sees and touches.
The next best thing you would learn is when everyone including yourself leaves you, there is still hope. Kevin being the hope to Yossi, he never gives up on his friend and comes to find and rescue him. But later we learn that Karl and Marcus have been defeated by the mother nature or some other force. I definitely have to give credits to the cinematography of the movie for bringing both amazing and horrifying experience of Yossi and the gang. Some scenes were graphic and very close to reality. And I think this is the best acting of Daniel I’ve seen so far. His dedication to work is tremendous, quoting the director Greg McLean, “This speaks to Radcliffe’s integrity and his commitment as an actor to be truthful to Yossi’s story”, and yes, I 100% agree.