Dir: Greg McLean. Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Alex Russell, Joel Jackson, Thomas Kretschmann. 15 cert, 113 mins
Daniel Radcliffe has officially entered his wilderness period. In last year’s Swiss Army Man, he played a decomposing corpse whose farts powered Paul Dano’s character helpfully around a desert island. In Jungle, he’s at least alive, but left to go it solo, when a backpacking trek through Bolivia goes horribly wrong.
This true story about the misadventures of a guy called Yossi Ghinsberg, in 1981, is the latest instance of Radcliffe letting masochism guide his career choices. It does not look like a cosy shoot. He ate one boiled egg a day to reach the emaciated state of his character, who was swept down white-water rapids and separated from civilisation for three weeks.
In the most gruesome scene, a prosthetic bump on his forehead is revealed to contain a large parasitic worm, which the real-life Yossi had to cut out with a penknife. Radcliffe, summoning a solid Israeli accent, obligingly goes through the wringer, evidently connecting with the primal emotions of survival, and continuing his steady improvement on the indie scene.
It’s one of his best performances – strong enough to help the film ride out its considerable bumps, especially at the mid-way point when other cast members part ways.