There has been one question that has loomed over “The Lost City,” the new “Romancing the Stone”-ish adventure starring Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, perhaps more than any other – how much is Brad Pitt in this thing?
Pitt’s casting was announced in the spring of 2021 and initially reported as merely a cameo. But when the first trailers for “The Lost City,” which follows a romance novelist (Bullock) who is kidnapped by an unscrupulous tycoon (Daniel Radcliffe) and teams up with her cover model (Tatum) to uncover a real treasure, were released, Pitt was front and center. He was a key part of the marketing for the movie and has been ever since. His appearance in the marketing materials made the “cameo” distinction of his role come into question.
Just how much was Pitt in this thing?
Well, now that “The Lost City” has hit theaters nationwide, it is time to dig into just how much screen time Pitt has in the new Adam and Aaron Nee film.
Spoilers for “The Lost City” follow.
More Than A Cameo
“The Lost City,” a very silly and fun movie, has Bullock’s romance writer kidnapped from a public appearance. She just had a loud fight with her cover model (Tatum), who then feels guilty about the fight and runs after her, only to see her getting shoved in a car and taken away. Despondent, he consults with her literary agent (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) and her social media manager (Patti Harrison). Realizing that her abduction is probably outside the local jurisdiction, he thinks about somebody that he knows who could help – his trainer, Jack Trainer (Brad Pitt). They call him and Pitt makes a brief vocal appearance. He talks about what kind of dark stuff Bullock’s kidnappers could be into, says that he can only be paid via bitcoin and agrees to meet Tatum in the last ping of her smart watch (a mysterious island, of course).
During this scene, Pitt can be heard eating, which is either a reference to a similar moment in “Fight Club” when Edward Norton calls Pitt for help only to hear Pitt munching on something on the other end; or perhaps a nod to his “Ocean’s Eleven” character Rusty, who is oftentimes seen eating. Either way, it is a funny little bit, a callback to his previous work and a good introduction to the character, who is a little bit shallow, more than capable and lovable even in his most rascally moment.
Less Than A Supporting Role
When Tatum gets to the island, he sees Pitt at the airport. The camera spends an appropriate amount of time just soaking Pitt in – the tousled hair, bronze skin, his generous collection of man bracelets and a look that suggests rugged individualism, an outdoorsy nature and yoga studio spiritualism. Together, Tatum suggests that they can rescue Bullock. But Tatum is just a cover model.
Pitt begrudgingly agrees and they squeeze into his tiny rental car, headed towards the jungle and Radcliffe’s compound. Of course, once there Pitt orders Tatum to stay with the car and does a series of gymnastic maneuvers to enter the compound and sedate several guards (while putting them in a choke hold Pitt hilariously whispers “Go to sleep”). Of course, that is until he notices Tatum has snuck along too and is totally out of his depth.
There are several moments when Tatum is sneakily infiltrating a part of the compound, Tatum trails him and either messes something up or punches somebody after Pitt has already knocked them out. Finally, they make it to where Bullock is being held captive. This is when Pitt says the “my father is a weatherman” line that they have used in every trailer for the movie and might honestly use in the trailers for other movies (could “Sonic the Hedgehog 2” use that joke? Maybe!)
Pitt and Bullock clearly have a chemistry (they’ll next be seen together in this summer’s “Bullet Train”). They don’t have time to cut Bullock free, so she is still attached as they escape Radcliffe’s compound. (Cue a shot where Pitt and Tatum are pushing Bullock, chair and all, in a wheelbarrow to the soaring strains of Pat Benatar’s “Shadows of the Night.”)
While at the car, Pitt starts to talk to Bullock about their escape plan; Tatum is put off by their dynamic. And then … Pitt is shot in the head! The shot comes from one of Radcliffe’s goons and the actual moment is surprisingly graphic for a PG-13-rated comedy. Tatum is splashed with blood and Tatum and Bullock make their escape. It’s just the two of them now. Pitt has made his exit before minute 34 of the movie. That’s some Janet Leigh shit. (Leigh actually made it to minute 47.)
But Wait, There’s More!
Of course, what would a big studio movie be without a mid-credits scene? After a main-on-end animated credits sequence set to a horribly neutered version of Latto’s TikTok-approved “Big Energy,” we see that Pitt is alive and well! “Humans only use 10% of their brain, so I just used that to another 10%,” he said. He is in a yoga studio but clearly losing his cool, mad that Tatum left him for dead. But could there still be more adventures with the three of them? Time will tell! If “Romancing the Stone” got a half-baked sequel, so could “The Lost City.”