The New World (2005)

What’s good about The New World is that we are shown the encounter of the Native Americans and the settlers of Jamestown in 1607 from both of their perspectives.  With excellent direction, great cinematography and little dialogue we see their utter bewilderment, and then their gradual ability to communicate with one another.  The film is also a complete story from start to finish with several well developed characters including Pocahontas (although that name is never mentioned), Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), and John Rolf (Christian Bale).   Lastly, it’s just beautiful to look at.  The photography is masterful in showing the beauty and the enormity of this new environment, that is later contrasted with scenes depicting life in England.   There is an unmistakable style to it.

The film’s length and extremely slow pace are beyond what I would have preferred.  As well, the use of narratives by the characters to let us know what they’re thinking is over done and a bit too poetic.  There’s too much wondering into the characters’ “stream of consciousness.”  Perhaps there’s some artistic value to that, but it’s lost on me.  Beyond telling a story the film contains three distinct character studies.

As a whole it’s more good than bad and I would recommend it, but only to those who know what their getting in to.  Watch and listen carefully, and be very patient.


2 Responses to “The New World (2005)”

  1. markuswelby1 Says:

    As a film buff, it’s hard for me to get into Malick. Critics seem to be raving about “Tree of Life” but I think I lack the patience to fully appreciate the director’s unusual take on narrative at this point in my movie loving career.

  2. Anon E. Muss Says:

    I was generous with my review of The New World, but at least there was a story hidden within the tiresome abstract babble. You give him too much credit. It’s possible there’s nothing to “fully appreciate.” Critical acclaim doesn’t translate into something worth watching. The Thin Red Line was pointless, and Badlands was Natural Born Killers on Valium.

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