Newest Reviews
Tree House, The
Seducao da Carne
Yes, God, Yes
Five Graves to Cairo
You've Been Trumped Too
Woman in Black, The
Elvis: That's the Way It Is
Man Who Laughs, The
Watch List
Kat and the Band
Perfect 10
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Traitor, The
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Newest Articles
What Use is Grief to a Horse? Equus on Blu-ray
For God's Sake Strap Yourselves Down: Flash Gordon on 4K UHD Collector's Edition
Party Hard: Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Nights in with ABC 2 - Your Faces are All Blurred!
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
  Emerald Forest, The In My Tribe
Year: 1985
Director: John Boorman
Stars: Powers Boothe, Charley Boorman, Meg Foster, Dira Paes, Eduardo Conde, Ariel Coelho, Peter Marinker, Mario Borges, Átila Iório, Gracindo Júnior, William Rodriguez, Yara Vaneau, Arthur Muhlenberg, Chico Terto, Ruy Polanah, Maria Helena Velasco
Genre: AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bill Markham (Powers Boothe) is an American engineer in Brazil, working on a dam project there. It's a long term assignment so he has brought his wife Jean (Meg Foster) and their two young children with him, both of whom are entranced by the rainforest that the workers are in the process of knocking down to make room for the dam. So entranced is Tommy, Markham's son, that he wanders into the jungle and is kidnapped by a tribe who call themselves The Invisible People - will Tommy's family ever see him again?

Yes they will, but not for ten years, as the film jumps forward in time to follow Markham's tireless exploits in hunting down his son (now played by Charley Boorman, son of the director). The Emerald Forest was one of the more blatant attempts at environmentalism brought to us by the movies, and could have been accused of jumping on a fashionable bandwagon, yet there's a disarming sincerity to its depiction of the Amazon tribes as a people under threat from so-called civilisation. Even more than the seventies, the eighties was a time where concerns about the health of the planet were advancing to the fore.

However, there was a touch of subterfuge going on here, as the film explicitly states at the beginning that this is based on a true story. It seems hard to believe after watching it, and once this claim was looked into, it turned out to be a very loose statement of fact - vaguely based on a true story or two, you could say. Nevertheless, the impression was that the message was more important than the medium in this case and as long as the audience understood that the rainforests were in danger then that was the most important thing.

As the decades passed, The Emerald Forest became a favourite on late night television, not because of its right on credentials, but because of the amount of casual nudity on display thanks to the natives. They gallavant around as if they were in the Garden of Eden, but John Boorman and screenwriter Rospo Pallenberg are careful not to paint too rosy a picture, and after it is established that Tommy has been perfectly assimilated, becoming a man in a special ceremony and picking a bride, Kachiri (Dira Paes), the threat is introduced.

Not only in the shape of the rainforest demolition, but also thanks to a violent enemy tribe The Invisible People call The Fierce People; they all seem to speak the same (subtitled) language, incidentally - even Markham knows how to communicate with the Invisibles. Markham soldiers on into the jungle, is captured by the Fierce ones and escapes only to lose his machine gun to them. On the bright side, and by amazing coincidence, he bumps into Tommy by a waterfall who takes his injured father back to his new home where he can be patched up with native medicine.

Tommy is a product of these two societies, but there's no doubt which is the more admirable here, although he has to rely on his birth father than his adoptive father when the women of the tribe are kidnapped for prostitution. The ending is like something out of an action movie, so much so that you wish they'd found another way to resolve it (does nobody call the authorities?), but it does make the point that members of both sides can work together to help save the trees, culture and whatnot. The Emerald Forest is attractively photographed by Philippe Rousselot, but it veers close to hippy dippy pretention, so is perhaps best regarded as an adventure with a moral to be taken away after the closing credits. Music by Brian Gascoigne and Junior Homrich.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4909 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


John Boorman  (1933 - )

British director whose work can be insufferably pretentious or completely inspired, sometimes in the space of a single film. He began his career with the BBC, before directing Dave Clark Five vehicle Catch Us If You Can. Hollywood beckoned and his Lee Marvin movies Point Blank and Hell in the Pacific won him admirers.

From then on the quality was variable: the obscure Leo the Last, the harrowing megahit Deliverance, the ridiculous Zardoz, the reviled Exorcist II, Arthurian adaptation Excalibur, The Emerald Forest, Where the Heart Is, The General and underrated spy drama The Tailor of Panama. Was once involved with an aborted attempt to film The Lord of the Rings.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg


Last Updated: