A Terence Malick film remains an event, but he appears awfully disoriented in The New World -- less a seasoned traveller than a perplexed tourist, content to mask his confusion by reaching for a camera and snapping relentless pretty pictures.
Malick has a gorgeous talent for capturing supernal landscapes, for conveying their sorrow, and it would be a loss if he stopped directing again at a time when Hollywood is more starved than ever before for the personal touch.
The New World blows centuries of dust and schoolkid romanticism from the oft-mythologized tale of Pocahontas and the English settlers, relaying old news with an abundantly poetic and visually startling point of view.
This is no breathless film fantasy; its pulse is stately, contemplative. But anyone who has keen eyes and an open heart will surely go soaring and crashing with the lovers lost in Malick's exotic, erotic new world.