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The New World (2006)

Action & Adventure and Drama movie directed by Terrence Malick

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A Lengthy Dream or a Moving Piece of Art.

  • Sep 24, 2006
THE NEW WORLD is supposedly a film about John Smith, Pocahontas, and John Rolfe. I say supposedly because even though the plot of the film is centered around the love triangle between the three, the film really has very little to do with them. That's because this is a film written and directed by Terrence Malick. Malick's movies have a style completely of their own and there is no other filmmaker who makes movies the way Malick does. Malick's movies are like viewing a piece of continuous art that goes on for miles and miles. Watching a Malick flick is akin to experiencing a long and peaceful dream. The movie is filled with one beautiful image after another with very little dialogue.

The plot of the film is taken from history. It's the 17th Century and John Smith leads a company of men upriver from their Jamestown colony to trade with the Indians. He's taken prisoner and falls in love with Princess Pocahontas. Knowing that he is being depended upon, Smith returns to the colony. The natives attack the colony. Pocahontas is taken captive. Smith is ordered to leave Jamestown. John Rolfe, a rich tobacco farmer, arrives at Jamestown. Rolfe falls in love with Pocahontas. The two are married. Later she's reunited with Smith and has to decide whom she will spend her life with.

Colin Farrell has a lot of screen time in the movie. Personally I think this is one of Farrell's best performances ever. Of course, that might have to do with the fact that he doesn't speak for over half of the film. Q'Orianka Kilcher portrays Pocahontas and does a remarkable job. Christian Bale portrays John Rolfe and though he's not as interesting as he is as Bruce Wayne, he's a pleasure to watch.

I usually don't like art films. I like a movie to have a great story told well, a movie with some great characterization, or a film that includes all of that. I saw THIN RED LINE, Malick's previous picture, when it came out and it almost put me to sleep. It was beautifully shot, but I just couldn't get into it. Since then I've learned a thing or two about cinematography and I respect the type of pictures that Malick makes. Even though I didn't like THE NEW WORLD as much as a movie such as RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK or a solid drama like SIDEWAYS, I still enjoyed the movie. It relaxed me and after viewing the film I had a very restful night of sleep.

There are many people who will not enjoy THE NEW WORLD. If someone believes THE NEW WORLD is a historical epic, they will be sorely disappointed. If someone believes THE NEW WORLD is a movie full of action sequences, they will also be disappointed. THE NEW WORLD is like a piece of art, you can only enjoy it if you are willing to explore it from every angle and even then it might not make complete sense.

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More The New World (2006) reviews
review by . January 29, 2009
If you expect The New World to be historically accurate, it's bound to disappoint. If, however, you approach it as a 17th century love story/adventure, there is much to admire. And the title runs in two directions. The world is a new one for the English settlers, but also for the natives, especially Pocahontas, who journeys to old England and experiences a world she could never have imagined.   It's puzzling why an actor of the stature of Christopher Plummer would accept the role of Captain …
review by . June 18, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
'The New World' envelops the viewer with laguorous grandeur. The story is familiar; we have known since our earliest days the story of Captain John Smith and his people's pilgrimage to the new world. But the presentation in this film shakes the dust off our familiarity. The camera shots and acting are expert for making us feel like we, too, are on that same journey with all its awe and innocense. Refreshingly, the portrayal of natives and pilgrims is not clearly drawn as just heroes and villains …
review by . June 05, 2006
Actually The New World was beautifully filmed. I had expected it to be the same ole historical recounting of events - on teh contrary, it was organic and meserizing. For some odd reason the romantisized script added an intriguing depth. While maybe not completely factual, the film interjected soulful characterization into one of America's first romantic stories.     Pocahontis (I can't remember the actress' name) was luminous and enchanting. Collin Ferrall seemed a little lost, …
review by . May 13, 2006
Terrence Malick is a master of understatement and it is that quality of his writing and directing that makes THE NEW WORLD so luminous an experience for the viewer. Though the historical material in this film has been told and written and filmed to exhaustion, Malick finds that awe and wonder as the Old World of the King James' England puts ashore on the pure and unsoiled land of Virginia of 1607 to an audience of naively innocent 'naturals' who are as fascinated with the arrivals of the visitors …
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About this movie


The legend of Pocahontas and John Smith receives a luminous and essential retelling by maverick filmmaker Terrence Malick. The facts of Virginia's first white settlers, circa 1607, have been told for eons and fortified by Disney's animated films: explorer Smith (Colin Farrell) and the Native American princess (newcomer Q'orianka Kilcher) bond when the two cultures meet, a flashpoint of curiosity and war lapping interchangeably at the shores of the new continent. Malick, who took a twenty year break between his second and third films (Days of HeavenandThe Thin Red Line), is a master of film poetry; the film washes over you, with minimal dialogue (you see characters speak on camera for less than a quarter of the film). The rest of the words are a stream-of-consciousness narration--a technique Malick has used before but never to such degree, creating a movie you feel more than watch. The film's beauty (shot in Virginia by Emmanuel Lubezki) and production design (by Jack Fisk) seems very organic, and in fact, organic is a great label for the movie as a whole, from the dreadful conditions of early Jamestown (it makes you wonder why Englishman would want to live there) to the luminescent love story. Malick is blessed with a cast that includes Wes Studi, August Schellenberg, Christopher Plummer, and Christian Bale (who, curiously, was also in the Disney production). Fourteen-year-old Kilcher, the soul of the film, is an amazing find, and Farrell, so often tagged as the next big ...
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Director: Terrence Malick
Genre: Action, Drama, Adventure
Screen Writer: Terrence Malick
DVD Release Date: May 9, 2006
Runtime: 150 minutes
Studio: New Line Home Video
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