The New World Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ June 9, 2006
I enjoyed this movie, but I suspect I'll probably enjoy it with a second or third viewing. Also, maybe if I plan to watch it (instead of turning it on because it happens to be on unexpectedly), and watch it when I'm not tired and can focus, then I'll enjoy it more.

Terence Malick is a very acquired taste, but is capable of providing some rewarding stuff. One has to be in the right mood to enjoy his stuff, but if you can get into that groove, then the experience is quite something. This take on the Pocahontas story, while taking liberties and guilty of some inaccuracies, does far better justice than the 90s raping perpetrated by Disney. For one, this is just better shot, not (really as, if at all) whitewashed, and just a better production all around. Oddly enough, Christian Bale is involved with both films.

Despite some license with history/story, and a purposeful desire to focus on the romance, this is a thoughtful, gorgeous poem about culture, nature, and life. As is common with Malick's work, the cinematography and visuals are absolutely stunning. This sucker is just wonderful to stare at. What misgivings the story has are made up with more faithful attempts to accurately depict cultures, sets, locations, and costumes. The art direction and set design, like the camera work, are dynamite.

The real star of the show is nature. The humans do a good job too, but they are merely supporting players, even the characters who are supposed to be the leads. This is art, so I'm sure most people won't like this. It wouldn't be what they're expecting. Much like 2001, Solaris, and other great works of art, this film is long, slow paced, and features minimal dialogue. I appreciate the subtlety and not having everything handed to me. What's odd though is that while there's not much dialogue, there's a lot of voice overs to fill in the gaps. Some don't like this (as I've read), but it didn't bug me too much. One thing I really appreciated is how not all of the scenes with Native Americans speaking are subtitled. I liked that. It makes the viewer pay attention and pulls them into feeling just like the colonists in terms of having to jump a communication hurdle.

I wanted to like this more, but I found it hard to watch. For the reasons I opened this review with, it's not so much to the fault of the film. I think you should give this a chance, if only to stare and gorgeous images and listen to beautiful music while cultures clash in an artistically rendered historical romance.
Super Reviewer
½ October 11, 2010
A gorgeous, heavily emotional film from the brilliant Terrence Malick concerning the dawn of the exploration of America, and how John Smith (Colin Farrell) becomes deeply connected with the princes Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) after she saves him from certain death by her people. Unfortunately, this is a very misunderstood movie. It isn't aiming for historical accuracy or to tell a usual epic story, instead it is a long, winding poem full of whispers, beautiful scenery, and fantastic music. It is not for everyone given its length (the director's cut runs nearly three hours) and unique style, but the hypnotizing grasp this film had on me lasted for near its entirety. Sure, as said, it takes some liberties with how to portray historical characters (there's no way Smith would be as quiet and reflective in real life as he is here), but this is a truly beautiful movie and moving story to be a part of. It's a mixture of history and romance, but most importantly, it's an experience. This is a work of beautiful art, which is undeniably the goal of Malick. The gorgeous, mature Kilcher is a revelation as Pocahontas, and Farrell is extremely impressive as a romanticized Smith. You either love Malick (like me), or you hate him. To me, this might be his finest work, which is saying something.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2012
Terrence Malick has a knack of filming the human experience as if it were a nature documentary, and a very long one at that! Still the story of Pocahontas is an enticing one and the actors are captivating.
Super Reviewer
½ May 28, 2011
I guess even Terrance Malick is allowed to screw up every once and a while. Now, I have loved his three pervious pictures, "Badlands," "Days of Heaven," and "The Thin Red Line" but "The New World" felt like Malick was resting on his laurels. The story of Pocahontas is a classic, timeless one but Malick misses the true message and heart of it. His other films work as well as they do because he is able to find the balance between his visceral, breathtaking images and his obscure philosophical storytelling. The narrative of "The New World" almost demands that it be told in a straightforward way. While the cinematography, period design, voiceover dialogue and musical score are fantastic- they alone don't make a film worthwhile. The plot moves along so quickly here that important points are completely glided over. This simply does not work. While it was fine in his much more abstract pervious efforts, the effect simply takes away any emotional connection I had with the story. "The New World" may have seemed like a good idea on paper, but the outcome is plodding, misguided and frankly quite boring. Malick forgets to add heart to a story that requires it and without it, "The New World" is just a series of meaningless, but beautiful, images.
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2011
Without a doubt, this is this is the greatest representation of the Pocahontas and John Smith story. Not only is it visually beautiful beyond belief, but it also has such a great emotional feeling tagged along that is completely unique. Terrence Malick's decision to shoot the entire movie hand held and set in deep focus is incredibly risky, but it obviously worked better than even he probably imagined. The beginning portion of the story feels a lot like Herzog's Aguirre in style and visuals, which is probably the best compliment you could pay. The obvious idea of the movie was to show America in a way that made it looked untouched and full of undiscovered beauty. However, I think above all it is about human nature and what someone or a group of people will do to survive and prosper. Colin Farrell, Christian Bale and Q'Orianka Kilcher all give great performances and make the movie as good in content as it deserves to be. The drawn out storyline really works here more than in a lot of other "epics" because it attempts to give us a complete story to the legend that we seem to only get snippets of every other time.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2006
The real story of Pocahontas is nothing for Disney fans expecting a happy ending. While the first half was pretty much what I expected, a mix of adventure and exploration film, with the usual (yet necessary) commentary on white man's stealing of the new land, the second half surprised me. Here "The new world" gets a whole new meaning, as the native Americans lay their eyes on 18th century London. The wonderful performance of the gorgeous newcomer Q'Orianka Kilcher as the living, breathing soul of the film and already makes it worth it. A very calm, sad, poetic, almost hypnotic movie, extraordinarily beautifully filmed. The ending is deeply moving.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
I think that is was possibly missing some Malick-esque quality. Some shots were beautiful, but I felt as though they weren't as rich and and gorgeous as in say, The Thin Red Line... but in the end it achieved it's man versus nature theme and that is always a good thing. It was almost sad seeing Kilcher in the British dress at the end.
And Farrell and Bale are fantastic. As always. Don't even have to question that.
Yet, I maintain that I love Malick films. And if you were "bored" by it or thought it slow (or for any Malick film) , then you simply don't have an appreciation for arty films. No shame in that, just don't whine and complain when you don't understand it and go back to your video games.
Super Reviewer
March 15, 2008
I enjoyed it - but only because I never quite knew the story/legend of Pocahontas. So the details may not be true, it was an interesting story. I have seen it more than once, and each time there is more to take in.

A problem I had with it - it draggggggged. Perhaps we needed all those long dragged-out scenes to understand their feelings, but a shorter movie would have been better.
Super Reviewer
July 11, 2010
The New World is a terrific historical drama film based on the Pocahontas. Terrence Malick directs this awesome epic. Everything about this film is breathtaking. The scope is massive, the pacing done just right. This is the type of film that slowly unfolds it's story, which is something that won't appeal to many. But to those who want to watch a superior historical piece, then The New World is the film for you to watch. The cast that Mallick has assembled here is phenomenal. Especially an unknown actress by the name Q"orianka Kilcher whos beauty lights up the screen in every scene shes in. As a diehard history buff, I absolutely enjoyed this film. Everything about the film is almost magic in a sense. Theres a sense and feel of love on screen constantly as you are pulled into The New World. This film is purely, and simply beautiful. A flawless historical drama.
Super Reviewer
May 26, 2010
An interesting take on the "Pocahontas" legend. It seemed extremely authentic and realistic compared to the Disney version which has absolutely no connection to the actual story.
Super Reviewer
January 18, 2007
unlike any movie ever made. malick is certainly a visual director, and this is one of the most visually remarkable films ever made. the entire story is told through the visuals, and dialogue and character development is at a minimum in the film, but this is one of the rare times when that works. at times i felt like i was really getting to know jamestown more through this film than in all of the study ive done on the place. malick accomplishes trapping you in his story and scenery so well that when the characters end up in england in the final act, despite the fact that its far more like what we experience in life, i still felt a bit of culture shock that helped me resonate with the characters in a profound way. a beautiful movie.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2009
I dont have words for this Movie except two. OUTSTANDING PERFOMANCE!
Super Reviewer
August 19, 2007
"Love...shall we deny it when it visits us...shall we not take what we are given."

I can see the line of divide between people who are either going to hate this or love it, there seems to be no middle ground.
Throughout the film, namely the opening scene, the combination of music, sound effects and visuals, blend together seamlessly to paint an incredibly beautiful picture. The way the scenes move from one to the next and most of the dialogue being voice over, spoken almost in a whisper with a somber tone, gives the film a dreamlike (almost hallucinatory) quality and pace, which is no doubt what lulled most viewers to sleep. I can't defend the films length, as you do feel every minute, it strolls along but i was one of those few people who did enjoy every moment. I don't think poeple who didn't like this are "stupid" or "didn't get it", it's just different from 99.9% of films out there and clearly not made for everyone (in particular the more mainstream audiences as it's not typically "Hollywoodized").
In my opinion all actor's performances are impressive and sincere, as each fully become their characters. Chemistry is good between all and no one steals the spot light fom another. This film just goes to show that dialogue isn't everything and is not what creates a brilliant performance. I was amazed at how much of the story and emotion was portrayed in silence, by body language, an expression, a look or a touch. The relationship between Pocahontas (Kilcher) and Smith (Farrell) is beautiful to watch develop, her innocence and spiritual nature seem to counter his physicality and wild personality, as they meet each other with curiosity and wonder, as if they are both meeting another human being for the first time. Their deep emotions (love and sorrow to name a few) echo through the entire film with the actor's strong performances, so much so that when we meet Rolfe (Bale) later in the film we feel somewhat resentful at his advances towards Pocahontas, as our hearts still lie with her and Smith, despite the fact they are both honorable men.
I felt the authenticity of the Indian villages, clothes, rituals, language and behaviour were superior to any adaption of this story I've ever seen. As is the age gap between Smith and Pocahontas, Kilcher being only 14 at the time and Farrell 29. Malick also shows (fairly) the barbaric and peaceful sides of both tribes (Indians and English) unlike anything I have seen before. Definately the most beautiful, poetic and soulful version of this story I have ever seen. It's clear that Malick loved making this, he made it more for himself I think and despite it's criticism I'm glad he did ♥

"They are gentle, loving, faithful, lacking in all guile and trickery. The words denoting lying, deceit, greed, envy, slander, and forgiveness have never been heard. They have no jealousy, no sense of possesion. Real, what I thought a dream."
Super Reviewer
May 3, 2007
Visually speaking, this film was quite arresting. Story-wise, on the other hand, it regrettably left a lot to desire. Because however beautiful and mesmerizing it may be, I can't overlook the fact that it was almost completely deprived of emotional arcs. There's really not much dialogue or substance to speak of, and Altough it's refereshing that it doesn't follow the typical "north by northwest" paradigm, I couldn't help but be bored by the lack of dramatic energy. The second half almost had me lose interest altogether, which is a shame considering the potential this film had. Another problem is that there is too much monologuing. I know it's meant to convey the characters inner thoughts and feelings, and it did have some poetic qualities to it, but in the end, it only served to weaken the story further. I still liked the film as a whole though, for it's beauty and the relaxing effect it had on me.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2006
Quite a beautiful film, both in storyline and scenery. The film (although narrated in parts) was left rather a lot to visual explanation, rather than dialogue, which worked well (especially as I wasn?t particularly blown away by Colin Farrell?s accent).

I would have enjoyed a deeper look into the Native American culture (a personal fascination), but as this was the story of Pocahontas, the love story was obviously the main reason for this film and of course the Expring.

An Epic, which I wouldn?t want to repeat watching, but was worth watching the once.
Super Reviewer
June 13, 2007
I have said before that I hate when a film leans over its style rather than the story, but I have to acknowledge the talent behind Terrence Malick. The poetic nature, meticulousness and preciosities of this filmmaker's style tend to be demanding and even burdensome, but what he did here, with the story of Pocahontas, was probably the best way to fully experience everything she and her lover saw, heard, smelt and felt when their worlds clashed.
A striking elegy, a visual feast.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2008
Malick focuses too much on his exterior shots which hinders the development of the plot, the dialogue is sparse and it often gets interrupted by Malick's obsession with filming random nature shots, they are pretty though.
Super Reviewer
July 17, 2008
Let's start with what I did like about this movie: the cinematography was breath taking, the acting was top notch, and the camera angles were everything it needed to be. Wonderful right? Far from it....

This is a good story and it is a beautiful piece of art. However, it is one hell of a waste of time!!! In reality, it bored the ever loving shit out of me. The only reason I watched this is because I'm a huge fan of Christian Bale, and he didn't even appear in the movie till it was 3/4 finished (and at a length of 2:10, that's looooooooong).

A very accurate tale of Pocahontas, but utterly boring. The director spends so much time trying to envelope you into the story that you can't wait to be as far from it as possible. And Colin Farrel's dialogue was nothing short of mumbling... I missed about 50% of what he said during this movie.

The beautiful background and the A list actors can't mask this piece of crap. I'm still yawning! I need red bull NOW!
Super Reviewer
½ July 17, 2008
Wagner throughout the film, Emmanuel Lubezki's photography from out of this world, meticulous realism, revival of dead Indian tongue, breathtaking landscapes, scarce dialogue, gestures, body language... It's so difficult to review a film so ethereal, and unusual, one that had all the right things but somehow wasn't supposed to work, but it did. Terrence Malick proves to be a visionary, he's made one of the most beautiful films in recent memory.

Christian Bale, Q'orianka Kilcher and Colin Farrell are the soul of the movie (everyone is incredible... not a surprise with Bale, but wow even Colin Farrell seems to become John Smith).

Malick and Lubezki took full advantage of everything around them to recreate colonial Virginia to perfection. They used only natural light, and expressionist shots of nature in movement. The work that the art direction put into the re-creation of the Indian villages, and the costumes especially, is also one of the highlights.

I also think it has soul, and poetry, much more than the elements to meet more 'rational' storytelling or cinematic standards. I enjoyed every second of it... and although I can understand how some people wouldn't like it, or think it's too long, I recommend that they keep watching. It just 'clicked' at a certain point, and everything was ecstatic. Malick loves the film, it shows, and it translates to it.
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2007
I had the most lovely nap to this. A pleasant half-consciousness full of beautiful, beautiful images. This is the movie equivalent of one of those clocks you buy off QVC that make white noise so you can sleep better. Which is pretty cool and all, as I can attest to, but not exactly what I look for in a film-going experience.

Call me uncultured all you want, but a film can serve all sorts of purposes, and The New World isn't exactly a stirring masterwork of focused storytelling, so it may as well be really pretty and boring.
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