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Plot: Captain Smith is spared his mutinous hanging sentence after captain Newport's ship arrives in 1607 to found Jamestown, an English colony in Virginia. The initially friendly natives, who have no personal property concept, turn hostile after a 'theft' is 'punished' violently on the spot. During an armed exploration, Smith is captured, but spared when the chief's favorite daughter Pocahontas pleads for the stranger who soon becomes her lover and learns to love their naive 'savage' way of harmonious life. Ultimately he returns to the grim fort, which would starve hadn't she arranged for Indian generosity. Alas, each side soon brands their own lover a traitor, so she is banished and he flogged as introduction to slavish toiling. Changes turn again, leading Smiyth to accept a northern-more mission and anglicized Pocahontas, believing him dead, becoming the mother of aristocratic new lover John Rolfe's son. They'll meet again for a finale in England. Runtime: 135 mins Release Date: 19 Jan 2005
First, let me applaud this film. I have been waiting for Terrence Malick's fourth film ever since I saw The Thin Red Line. Arguably, Malick is one of the most adept and deliberate filmmakers right now. The New World is nearly flawless, and the beauty of Malick's direction adds to the argument that film can still be considered aesthetic. Much has been lost in the last 30 years, but Terrence Malick sticks to what he knows. What some people may complain about this movie are the long silences, the action-less movement, and the poetic voice over. This is what Malick does. He is a modern <more>
transcendentalist. What he does with film is comparable to what Emerson did in writing. The color is naturalistic, and the sounds are earthly. It helps that Malick uses natural light for his shots, giving the scenery more life and texture. As for the substance of the film, what isn't pantomimed in subtle gestures and movements is brought to life with flowing poetic voice over. This goes all the way back to Badlands for Malick. But here, we get varying minds contributing. There are some moments in this film when the viewer has to understand the characters by their facial expressions instead of their words. I think that will be hard for a lot of people who are expecting a more vocative and kinetic film. As for the acting, I was very impressed with all involved, particularly Q'Orianka Kilcher. This young woman played the part of innocence beautifully. I also have to give some credit to Colin Farrell, considering I never expect much out of him. Unlike some of his other movies, he was not in it to steal the spotlight. Everyone played their parts without any excessive over-acting. This movie is a historical drama, but I feel like the history aspect is merely a backdrop for the Terrence Malick play. In his production, the flowing waters and the forest canopy are the actors, and the gentle reflections of troubled minds are the words. Truly, this is an incredible film. I have waited a long time for Terrence Malick to wow me again, and he has done exactly that. If you want a movie that tears at your heart strings, then go see something recycled like Brokeback Mountain. If you want a transcendental experience, one that challenges you to go deeper than the surface of the film, then The New World is waiting.
This film was everything I had hoped for and infinite volumes more. Writer/Director Terrence Malik simply refuses to see film-making as anything short of an art form and handles his brushes not to mention every frame with the tender care and command of an artistic master.The warnings are true... if you're looking for standard Hollywood fare, then run away. However, if you were trying hard to remember what film-making is supposed to be about, then this film is an absolute MUST SEE. While it is not forcefully spiritual in its aural narrative, I found this film to be a deeply religious <more>
experience in ways that words fail to express.True to form, Malik affords the world of this film as much character as the humans themselves possess. Long stretches of nothing but ambient, nat sounds. Stunning snapshots of the peripheral influences to each scene i.e. blowing grass, running streams, towering trees . Even an ending title sequence that lives beyond the narrative... breathing the last breaths of a tale that has managed to regularly transcends words.Sharp. Detailed. Purposeful. Bold. Brilliant.I have not been this happy about a film in a very long time. Well worth the money. Well worth the time. You will leave better for having seen it.I could not recommend it more!
Separates the "lovers of cinema" from the "average movie watcher" (by musicismath)
Separates the "lovers of cinema" from the "average movie watcher".Yes it is slow. If you view that as a negative then don't go see this.If you have a passion for cinema, this film is a gift. If you "just like going to the movies", then this film will cure your insomnia. Better to spend your cash on Last Holiday and let true cinema nerds like me take in this masterpiece. Every. Single. Shot...is a work of art unto itself. I even forgot that I hate Colin Farrell. Thank you Mr.Malick. I look forward to your next masterpiece a decade from now.
a deep artistic pleasure (by samseescinema)
The New World reviewed by Sam Osborn rating: 3.5 out of 4 Filing out of The New World, completely speechless and without notes, I could fathom only single adjectives to describe the experience. Looking at these listed words on my memo-pad now, they read "Thunderous, True, Beautiful, Solemn, Forceful, Gripping, Honest, and Slow." And for those who watch The New World with a calm countenance, an open mind and a ready cache of patience, Terrence Malick's long-awaited picture will have a similar effect. The film is a masterpiece thirty years in the making. His goal is plain enough: <more>
to affectively and honestly portray the love Pocahontas experienced in those first years that Europeans cut their first, fresh swath from the New World. But Malick goes far beyond a simplistic love story. I was at the screening for Casanova a few days earlier, where the film's objective was essentially the same: to portray the love between Casanova and Francesca in the days of Inquisition Venice. But where Casanova approaches love at a bubbly, comedic perspective, The New World throws itself into a headlong narration of love's sorrow. Every frame of The New World reflects this painful, aching emotion, utilizing the sounds and images of environment to incredible, innovative effect. The first shot of the film--an extended shot several minutes in length--finds the camera staring into a river. It's clear and pristine, carefree and surrounded by the blissful sounds of an unperturbed forest. Soon ripples begin forming, and we notice the quiet droplets of rain pit-pattering around us, causing the water to flow a little, bringing about a contented onslaught of lily pedals. The scene continues on, drawing us farther and farther into Malick's deafening reality with only the sounds and images of nature. He creates a calm within us with these images, a kind of serene canvas for him to later paint the vivid brush-strokes of human love later in the film. In this entire first act, little is even said. But these scenes rarely grow tiring. He finds rich beauty with every situation. His forest is lush and his settlements picturesquely Dickensian. Malick shows great and rare confidence with this picture. Few filmmakers would have the cool audacity to create a film so primarily reliant on nothing being said. The first and most important of Pocahontas' Q'Orianka Kilcher romances is with the infamous John Smith Colin Farrell . He's brought to the New World bound in a cage, punished for earlier mutiny. But because he's the only soldier of the expedition, Captain Newport Christopher Plummer opts to let him free on a strict probation. Their first encounters with the Naturals, as they're called, go coolly enough, with curious interest from the Naturals and tense hesitation from the settlers. And even here Malick plays with flights of romantic whimsy. These scenes of first encounter are shot in windswept, overgrown grassy fields, with Pocahontas dancing and twirling about them with her brother, catching the spry interest of Smith.Soon the settlers hear of a great city of Naturals down the river, and Smith is sent to investigate. Things have been going badly for the settlers and Captain Newport has left back for London and a new store of food and supplies. Smith's expedition is cut short, however, when he runs into a narrow, maze-like complex of swamps and is ambushed by warrior Naturals. He's taken prisoner by the Naturals, but granted life because of Pocahontas' curious interest and her favoritism with Chief Powhatan August Schellenberg . This catalyzes our entrance into The New World's most prominent territory. The scenes of Smith's time with the Naturals are Malick's best. They're those first strokes of paint on his canvas and the seeds of that palpable, historical romance.But admittedly, even with The New World's supreme sense of confidence and slow-moving progression, it sometimes wanders into the realm of self-indulgence. It especially grows tiresome in the final act, when we're brought from Virginia to London, our beloved Smith left behind to be replaced by John Rolfe Christian Bale and his stonewall courting of Pocahontas. I'd even venture to say that Malick could have left 30 minutes of these segments on the editing room floor, re-attaching them later to the Extended Cut DVD release that's sure to come. But movie-going patience is the mantra of the Awards season, and so some bottom-dragging in films is what's to be expected.What was not to be expected, however, was Q'Orianka Kilcher, the debuting actress playing Pocahontas. Few words she says, but dialogue is not always what makes a forceful performance. Her body language and expressions are allowed to do the speaking for her. She's advantaged also by her strong, muscular features that often betray hints of divine femininity. Farrell also does well, particularly in his somber narration. He reads it as though he speaks the words to himself, whispering them almost, for only his imagination to hear. But his physicality is manipulated nicely as well, exuding bubbly chemistry for Kilcher. The two mix ideally. Their sorrow and love and deeply resonated emotions are echoed about with their strong performances and Malick's supreme direction. And although Christian Bale strides into picture in the latter parts of the film, our hearts lie with Smith and Pocahontas, and we find ourselves resentful of Rolfe's advances. But this is just Malick's narrative trickery. We find ourselves raggedly torn between these two equally honorable men, and put almost into the same position as Pocahontas. It's precisely the reason we go to the movies. We've let the director take his grip on us and lead us down the path into characters and identities of his own creation. And with Malick leading our way, and with characters as tastefully dimensional as these, movie-going becomes a deep artistic pleasure.
Malick's method is to frame films as remembrances. Remembrances of romantic notions, whether freedom, peace, war or love as his four films trace . This way, he can exploit a languorous floating through remembered reality that never is that gentle or considered in actual reality. He can use his narration as things remembered, floating over the sights. To make this as effective as possible, he plays all sorts of tricks with the sound, having different boundaries of different types between what you see and hear.Added to this is a considered approach to framing. You may have noticed that <more>
most filmmakers stage the action as if the world arranged itself to fit nicely in the window the camera sees. It makes for nice pictures and clear, precise drama, but we know it for what it is, a theatrical device. Malick is like Tarkovsky; he likes to discover things and if the way the world frames things so that they are off the window we see, so be it. That's why his battle scenes are unique. With most directors, you'll have smiting and dying nicely so that we can see it. Or alternatively, we'll have point of view shots that are hectic as if we were a participant. These two battle scenes have the camera as a disembodied eye that shifts about as if it were the eye of dreams, or nearly lucid recalling or even retrospective invention. Sometimes hectic as if it were point of view, but never looking at what a combatant would, instead having a poetic avoidance.I first met Malick when he was a lecturer at MIT and I a philosophy student. He spoke of French Objectivism, and was clearly bothered by how the notation and language constrained the ideas. At the time, I was doing my thesis on Thomas Harriot, who is the hidden motivator behind everything in this story the real story. Malick never saw the thesis because by the time it was finished, he was off to explore this business of experiencing from the "outside" in cinematic language.But Harriot is likely the inventor of the "external viewer of self" notions that Malick liked as they reappeared in the French '60s and uses in his philosophy of film. Harriot suggested he got it from the Chesapeake Indians. So the circle closes: a film about a people using their own mystical memory-visions.If you take a little time to tune yourself to Malick's channel, you will find his work to be transcendent. I consider this one of the best films of 2005, despite its apparent commercial gloss and the mistaken notion that most will have that it is a love story. It is about remembering and inventing love in retrospect. A world is always new so long as the imagination of recall is supple.+++++++++The rest of this comment is of an historical nature. The love story is made up of course, but that's apt for a movie that is about invented memory. The Indians are mostly wrong, the body paint, hair and dress; according to the only document we have, the John White paintings, men and women were mostly nude even in winter and prided themselves on tolerance to the cold. There is no mention of the famous local hallucinogen, cypress puccoon which was widely traded and how a stone age people were able to survive in a land a hundred miles from the nearest stone. My original comment was deleted, presumably because there was a note about the unpeaceful nature of the people. Readers may want to consult good histories for that. Harriot a scientist and mage wintered over with a nearby "holy" tribe in 1585, and after he left, Powhatan destroyed the tribe lest they combine their magic with Harriot's and overcome his stranglehold on taxes. He married the wives of the chiefs he murdered. Matoaka Pocahontas was almost surely the offspring of this union and it is why he sent her as a naked 10 year old to negotiate with the Jamestown settlers, who Powhatan thought was Harriot returning.Powhatan never exiled Matoaka. When negotiations with the settlers failed, he married her off to a satrap in the north to expand his empire. From there she was kidnapped. When he knew that Rolfe had shamelessly promoted his marriage to an Indian princess and arranged an audience with the King, Powhatan sent the two holy men to accompany and protect her, those you see here. She presented to James, her father's cloak that is also shown in the movie. It was designed by Harriot for the his host, the husband of Matoaka's mother.The scenery is very accurate and was filmed where things actually happened and in a few spots within a few hundred yards of where Harriot wintered over and I now reside .The Harriot/Matoaka story is a key source for Shakespeare's "The Tempest," and it is likely that Shakespeare actually met Matoaka when she visited Harriot. One of the accompanying Indian priests had an argument over God with a Nixon-like cleric who subsequently published a list of all the demons thus mentioned. You can see that list of demons appearing throughout "King Lear."Viewers interested in racial matters may be interested to know that by the time of these events, Spain and Portugal had already imported over a half a million African slaves to South and Central America.Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.
The Native American Tribe and the Europeans come together in this story and show the epic history of the first colonial settlement. (by WinJudasPriest)
I had the special privilege of viewing this movie at its Premiere in The United Nations. I also had the honor of meeting the actress who played Pocahontas Q'Orianka Kilcher and one of the Native American Warriors Brian F. O'Byrne after the film was shown. They answered a few of the audiences questions and were very nice.The film itself was enjoyable, especially to those who love a good plot. There are some nice battle scenes that were brilliantly choreographed. Ms. Kilcher's performance was outstanding and for her first film seemed to make it all the more impressive.The New <more>
World focuses on Pocohantas' life and the creation of the first colony erected in the early 1600's and how Pocohantas' aided the Europeans. The film also includes the romance between John Smith Colin Farrel and John Rolfe Christian Bale which really helps to adapt the movie and her performance.I have never seen the Disney movie of Pocohantas but I could easily imagine this movie having a much more in-depth plot and is a very must see. There is no gore at all in the movie and Pocohantas' romance is also kept very clean which makes the film viewable by all audiences.
Let me start off by saying that I was introduced to the films of Terrence Malick in 1998 when I watched and was blown away by 'The Thin Red Line.' It is one of the best war movies ever made and while I can rant about it at length, that review belongs on a different page. It was with great anticipation that I waited for 'The New World.' I was lucky enough to get tickets to an advance screening and the theatre was full of people like me. Their take on the film was almost as interesting as the film was.'The New World' is a film that will draw out one of two very powerful <more>
emotions: Love or Hate. I really don't believe there is a middle ground in this case. I think it is quite possibly the most beautifully photographed film I have ever seen. It is astonishing. The score from James Horner is, in my opinion, his greatest work. He's a wonderful composer but he has exceeded himself on every level. This is a movie that can be watched like art because it is and listened to as a symphony it might as well be one . Very few movies leave me stunned and 'The New World' is so luscious that I think it is worth the journey, even if it is only to look at how beautiful it is and listen to how glorious it is. Is that a superficial way of looking at things? Perhaps, but they are the film's two most brilliant qualities.'The New World' does have problems and I think it falls very much into a 'buyer beware' category. Malick's movie is long -- very long -- and feels every moment of it. I don't mind these things because I found it enchanting; many in the audience with me did not. These are not people who are 'dumb,' or who 'don't get it.' They are people who are used to 99% of the films that you will see. 'The New World' is very self-indulgent at times. No one can reasonably defend the pace of the film. I want to and I can't. This is a movie so full of substance that it is detrimental. It is so rich and textured that it would be hard to say where things could have been improved, but aside from the first forty minutes which deal largely with the question of whether or not the Europeans can survive the first winter or not, the dramatic 'action,' that is, the engine of a script that pushes one scene into the next, is idling at best. 'The New World' has a plodding pace and it took me on a nice quiet stroll that I enjoyed immensely. I can not, in good conscience though recommend to the man on the street that he go to see it. If less than a third of the theatre I was in walked out, I'd be stunned. I lost count because so many people left. Mostly the middle hour and a half of the film is to blame. Scenes drift from one to the next -- they're stunning and textured and personally I enjoyed them -- but they involved a lot of hanging out. Two people hanging out in the woods. I understand that the film has deep meditative and philosophical meanderings about man's relationship with nature and how one impacts the other. I get it. But a lot of the love story is about two people hanging out in the woods. All the time. If one of them had said 'Let us go watch the grass grow for the afternoon,' it would have been the most honest line in the entire film. It is the only thing I will fault Malick for here because it really does kill the film for a lot of people. His intelligence should not be questioned. I wish only he'd tried to focus the script a bit more and been specific rather than general. Can two people from different cultures be together? We get it already. We got it an hour ago. Oh, more grass growing ... must watch ... ha! Forgive my little joke.The argument to be made though is that this film has not been made for everyone the studio is no doubt surprised to learn this and will be scrambling to recover their money -- they did a good thing in making it but they're going to lose their shirts . It was made by Terrence Malick for Terrence Malick. I'm glad to have seen it but I spoke with twenty people who were not. There will be constant arguments on the user boards here at the IMDb. The film is going to have rabidly fanatical supporters who think everyone else is just too stupid to get it. And it is going to be criticized by many, many others who died a thousand deaths just trying to sift through the movie.Two final thoughts: the first is that I hate myself for having to say anything negative about Malick or his film. He's a special film-maker and his films make it worth going to the theatre. 'The New World' is great but flawed and it is dishonest for anyone to pretend otherwise -- such behaviour is deceitful and pretentious.Thought number two is that although the film is equal parts challenging and rewarding as great movies should be it is especially important in the case of 'The New World' to see it in the theatre. It is so majestic in scope that I don't believe the greatest home theatre can do it justice. It is truly epic in its cinematography and score. If it doesn't win Oscars for both we will have witnessed a massive artistic injustice. NOTHING this year, NOTHING has come close to being a threat to 'The New World' for either of those two categories. Appreciate them as they were intended to be seen.
A breathtaking landscape populated by looks of discovery. Very few words, just the sensation that something is changing. Terrence Malick is one of my heroes but I had the feeling that, this time, he was expecting too much from me. Within the lushness of the surroundings there is something static, unapproachable, inaccessible. Q'Orianks Kilcher as Pocahontas is, quite simply, sublime but her emotions, and therefore mine, were kept so far removed that it was hard for me to get involved. Slowly, very slowly but surely her story started to creep in under my skin. I floated out of the theatre <more>
transported by the visual feast I had been served but frustrated by the numbness it provoked. A Terrence Malick film is a Terrence Malik film and you take it the way it was intended. I will, but I fear I'll be in the minority.
Beautiful film making . . . but not for everyone (by rockyhorror-1)
Halfway through Terence Malick's The New World, the Powhatan princess referred to as Matoaka never, thankfully, by the misnomer Pocahontas arrives at the encampment of the English settlers in the dead of night, to warn the then-president, John Smith played here by Colin Farrel that her father, Chief Powhatan August Schellenberg , is preparing to attack them. She asks him, simply , to "Come away". After having seen what we've seen already, we know what she is asking him to do. And we are begging him to do it. But he can't. It's simply too late for him.Whether or <more>
not any of the events depicted in Malick's New World actually happened in real life as they are depicted in this film is beside the point. I personally have read a fair amount of historical and anthropological lit on early colonial Virginia, and sure, I'm a little annoyed that Malick opted to portray Smith's near-death experience at the hands of Powhatan, and his fabled and doubtlessly fabricated romance with his favorite daughter, when neither of these things actually happened in real life. Malick isn't as interested in historical accuracy as he is in historical truth and yes, there is a difference . The land the English arrived in was an unspoiled eden, at least by what they certainly knew. Thirty years later, it was ruined, and the Powhatans were driven from their land. We see this happen as it truly did: eventually. No one is burdened with historical foreshadowing here. When the Indians first sight the ships, they couldn't possibly know that this means the end for them, and the beginning for Us. And they don't. It's that authentic. Instead, they, and we, feel excitement. In a breathtaking opening sequence scored by James Horner with ample help from Wagner, we are given what has to be a glimpse through some time portal, into the actual moments when Algonquin natives first sighted the three Ships of the Virginia Company Charter. Sound and sight combine beautifully the film is filmed using natural light, as far as I know to render a indescribably gorgeous montage, unlike anything I've ever seen in the cinema. It MUST have been like that. When the English go exploring soon after they land and encounter a party of Powhatan, Malick gives us a strange, disturbing, and yet joyous vision of this first encounter. The natives sniff and touch the aliens while the English stand stock still, obviously bewildered and terrified. Jesus, Malick. How did you do it?Malick has the natives, and especially Pocahontas brillaint, beautiful, and passionate Q'orianka Kilcher move and speak in the manner of the animals that inhabit the region. The warriors strut and caw like male birds, and Pocahontas dances through the fields like a leaping doe. These people do not move,speak, or act at all like Western men and women. We really believe that they have existed, removed from our civilization, for time out of mind. They are other, and it is beautiful to see. Malick contrasts the beauty and harmony of the Powhatan capital with the desolate grimness of Jamestown Fort, which Smith returns to after a sojourn with the natives. Unlike the idyllic world of the Algonquin, the settlers have proved themselves to be arrogant, greedy, and cruel. In the end, Powhatan decides he must act for the good of his people and plans to exterminate the English. Pocahontas, blinded by her love for Smith, goes to warn HIM. Not the colonists. She begs him to come away, back with her to a better place than any he can ever know with the Europeans. He refuses, because he cannot bring himself to give up the men he has been elected to lead to death. It is a stoic choice, but a fatal one, for both Pocahontas and her people. The Powhatan attack and are brutally thwarted among the casualties is Pocahontas' beloved brother . Pocahontas is banished to the Patawomeck tribe, whose chief sells her to the English for a copper kettle. Told Smith is dead, she wanders about the fort desolate, and is slowly anglicized, eventually marrying a kind new settler, John Rolfe an endearing Christian Bale and bearing him a son. Malick doesn't so much tell us all this through conventional narrative as SHOW us. There is no point followed by point here. He lets it happen, and through achingly beautiful imagery, shows us how it FEELS. Yes, if you're in the wrong mood, the continuous shots of green canopies and flocks of birds blooming across the sky may be a bit much. Some parts may be confusing, especially toward the end. And the script seems, at times, to be non-existent, which is usually alright if you have the patience, but is trying at points. Sometimes, we wish they would SAY more, though this is usually made up for by impressive non-verbal acting by all parties. Sticklers for complete historical accuracy will be disappointed, but they should be advised to keep an open mind: the truth is essentially here. There was a land once, populated sparsely by a people who lived in harmony with the earth, if not always with each other. It was taken from them slowly but surely, and turned into something completely unrecognizable. Kilcher's Matoaka is Malick's chosen personification of America Unspoiled, once leaping about nimbly as one with the tall grass, then corseted, roughly clothed, and presented as a trophy to a foreign people. She opened her arms willingly and without guile to help a stranger in need. She was repaid with despair and grief, and was remade in someone else's image, to suit someone Else's' ways. It's all here, and beautiful , joyous, and terrible to watch. We wish we had come away with Pocahontas. Highly recommended for those with patience and an interest.