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The New World (2005)

Cast: Colin Farrell, Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, more...
Director: Terrence Malick, Terrence Malick
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: New Line Home Video
Genre: Drama, Romance, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Wilderness & Nature
Running Time: 150 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

Terrence Malick, one of America's most respected and least prolific filmmakers, returns to the director's chair with this epic-scale historical drama. In 1607, British naval officer Captain Newport (Christopher Plummer) is leading the first expedition to the "New World," the continent whose presence was first speculated by Amerigo Vespucci a century before. One of the sailors accompanying Newport is Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), who is valued for his skills as a fighter and a seaman, but also possesses a sharp temper and spends much of the voyage bound in chains because of disputes with his shipmates. When Newport and his men first set foot on the New World's soil, they have no idea what to expect, and are met by a handful of "naturals," as the British come to call the natives, who seem at once amused and puzzled by their visitors. Newport appoints Smith leader of a band ordered to explore the territory, and Powhatan (August Schellenberg), tribal leader of the natives, isn't sure what to make of the uninvited guests. When Powhatan decides the sailors are not going to leave of their own volition, he orders his warriors to attack them; several of the invaders are killed, but at the insistence of his daughter Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), the rest are spared, including Smith. Smith is one of the men left behind when Newport returns to England for supplies, and he soon becomes infatuated with the beautiful Pocahontas, and finds his edgy personality is soothed by the unspoiled beauty of this new land. At the same time, he is frequently at odds with the ugly and avaricious nature of his own people and their crude settlement. After Newport returns to the New World, Smith is sent home, and Pocahontas comes to believe that he is dead; when John Rolfe (Christian Bale), who has established a tobacco plantation, asks Powhatan for Pocohontas' hand in marriage, he grants the request, and takes her back to England with him. When Smith finally returns to his beloved new land, he discovers the woman he loves is gone, and the British settlers and the "naturals" are on the verge of war. Shot on location in Virginia, The New World also features David Thewlis, Jonathan Pryce, and John Savage. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Malick in La La Land by chasiubao8 July 17, 2008 - 9:43 AM PDT
2 out of 3 members found this review helpful
Even stunning cinematography without a good script results in a striking absence of dramatic tension - even a National Geographic documentary has more dramatic structure. Little wonder the actors can't really sink their teeth into it. Rather than disclose truths about the characters, the camerawork is annoyingly voyeuristic and intrusive. It's true, Malick is more interested in inner revelation than dramatic storytelling, relying on the emotive power of the character's inner illumination and when that happens, it's a transcendent moment. Unfortunately, the actors softly mumble badly written monologue like a stupefied Prozac addicts, avoiding emotional highs and lows. What's the point of having a character mutter their disjointed inner musings that reify the scenery at hand? It's this mind numbing redundancy and sheer length of the film that make this film a chore to watch. Each of the main characters is too preoccupied by their own problematic relationship to themselves as they struggle to relate to each other while the world around them is dramatically changing. Its exceedingly difficult to use tragic historical events that set the stage for the eventual decimation of America's indigenous people as the vehicle to explore and re-imagine "new worlds". Malick made a concerted effort to engage Native peoples in making the film in order to remain faithful to the historical period, but ironically, the horror and tragedy that befell the Algonguins is never even dealt with. I concur with one reviewer that the making the film was not only far more interesting, but it paid more homage to the Algonquins than the film itself was able to.

a new cinematic world by slowworm August 8, 2007 - 9:40 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
This is one of those rare movies where both the good and the bad reviews can be accurate and useful to read. It doesn't work the way most movies do, but the ads and trailers gave no hint of this, and so viewers expecting conventional action or romance or political/historical content were sorely disappointed. However, those who were able to tune into the movie's immersive, impressionistic approach were rewarded with a masterpiece. I know of no other movie more like a poem -- but not everybody is into poetry.

Very disappointing by WZoller July 17, 2006 - 9:44 AM PDT
2 out of 5 members found this review helpful
It's sad when the "Making of" feature is better than the actual film. My wife and I thought that this movie was too slow, poorly edited, too long, and used the wrong music. And Colin Farrell's acting left something to be desired. The photography was its only saving grace.

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GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.57)
118 Votes
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