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New World

A movie directed by Terrence Malick

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Fiction, fact, and finesse.

  • May 17, 2011
**** out of ****

Terrence Malick seems to enjoy himself whilst adapting big stories, which require big directors, for the screen. He's a startlingly legendary filmmaker; one that can capture you, move you, and compel you to want more (in spite of his several-year hiatus' between each damn movie he seems to make). But every time, it's worth the wait. Malick is a great filmmaker, and here he has made a respectable work of art; beautiful, ambitious, bold, and entertaining. "The New World" is marvelously haunting, brilliant, and epic. The story it tells cannot be made small; and it needed a man who would risk making an American epic. Here is another one for the books.

Some feel that Malick's story is unfocused, and that the film just isn't as visionary as, say, "Days of Heaven". I find such statements preposterous, and even a bit pretentious, because no matter what, Malick will always be a living legend in the filmmaking industry. Sure, I do not necessarily blame those who do not like "The New World", because to some it will be flawed, but taking a step back might help you see the film better; both for what it is, and for how beautiful it hopes to be.

This is the story of Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) and Captain Smith (Colin Farrell); a romance that would, perhaps, be the start of a war. If you know the story, then you might also get a grasp for Malick's artistic vision, but here I'll go; describing the plot (in its most basic form) for you anyways. Smith and the rest of his men find the land of the Native Americans, hoping to establish land of their own. Indeed they do, but not before Smith is captured by the natives. Originally savage toward him, the natives begin to be kinder and gentler towards Smith. While with the natives, Smith meets Pocahontas; his one love, his one passion, and his reason for breathing air.

Smith eventually decides to report back to his mates; discovering the new land they have built, and almost attempting to adapt to it. He and Pocahontas are tragically separated after a series of arguments and battles between the two opposing forces. It becomes clear that this love is, perhaps, forbidden. Pocahontas, upon being separated from her love, believes that Smith may be dead.

Pocahontas is exiled from her tribe, and begins to live in Jamestown; since this is indeed the story of how the place came to be. It is there that she meets a new love interest, John Rolfe, who is safer and will perhaps stick with Pocahontas forever. However, when Pocahontas discovers that Smith is not dead, the love triangle gets somewhat tense.

This is another story that needed a cinematic master to be adapted properly, and Malick is indeed the man I would call if I wanted this story to be told, on-screen. He works very well with the material; blending fact with fiction, often with equal bliss. The story is, at times, what most would call "mediocre" or "poorly structured". Me, I call it moving, memorable, and epic. This film does all that it wants to do. It is what it wants to be. It's a great film that I can recommend to those who will work with it, as watchers, as Malick did, as a filmmaker; with tender care. Malick's movie is flawlessly made, no matter how you spin it.

It's also gorgeous to look at, as only a Terrence Malick film truly can be. Each shot is highly detailed; the sound editing is pitch-perfect, and James Horner's music score only adds to the excitement, the tragedy, and the legend of this story/film. For those of you who may still be asking me, Malick, and yourselves questions regarding this film, all I can say is the following. When a film ends, and makes you realize that you have just watched something of high, powerful quality, do you not regard it as art? This is art. This is filmmaking. In fact, it is absolutely spectacular filmmaking. Perhaps it is not a memorable story, but it is a memorable movie; and in spite of the warts that many will attempt to spot, I can't seem to find them under such smooth beauty. Historical films don't get much better than this. But then again...how could they?

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November 06, 2011
I vacation on the Outer Banks each year so am always fascinated with anything that relates to the area. I bought the Blu Ray of this film and really enjoyed it a lot. Malick is always a film maker that puts so much detail on the screen.
More New World reviews
review by . July 20, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: See Review.     Cons: See Review.     The Bottom Line: Unconventionally told, and slow and plodding at times, The New World is nonetheless a movie well worth watching if only to see the performance of QÂ’orianka Kitcher.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The story of fabled Pocahontas her real name was Mataoaka), the Indian princess from Virginia, has been the subject of many a story cartoon …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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About this movie


In 1607, three ships sailed across the Atlantic to the shores of what became known as Jamestown, Virginia. The arrival of these Europeans changed forever the history of the native people already living peacefully in this fertile country. Writer-director Terrence Malick, who has been waiting 25 years to tell this story, finally gets his chance in the breathtaking epic THE NEW WORLD. Colin Farrell stars as Captain John Smith, a British mutineer facing execution who finds a new purpose--and a dangerous love--in this new land. Smith falls for the young and beautiful Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher, in her first major role), daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg), laying the groundwork for trouble ahead. The Indians are both fascinated and frightened of the Europeans, not sure whether they are friend or foe. Suspicion, desire, greed, lust, and power soon combine to make them mortal enemies. Using natural lighting, carefully reconstructed forts (James Fort) and villages (Werowocomoco), reali...
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Director: Terrence Malick
Release Date: 2005
MPAA Rating: PG-13
DVD Release Date: Warner Home Video (May 09, 2006)
Runtime: 2hr 15min
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