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267 of 316 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrence Malick's Counterpart To The Thin Red Line, It's Beautiful, Visually Stunning, & Poetic, January 25, 2006
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MOVIE: Terrence Malick is not a mainstream director, his films while few in number, are incredibly rich with detail and visual language. Only a very few people can appreciate one of his films, mostly because they tend to run longer than mainstream movies and they don't follow the traditional formula. If you've seen The Thin Red Line then you know what a Terrence Malick film is. The Thin Red Line is in my opinion one of the finest cinematic accomplishmensts in the war genre. The New World is basically Malick's counterpart to The Thin Red Line. While The Thin Red Line was a look into the dark nature of mankind and how we destroy ourselves, The New World is the opposite of that. This film is about the celebration of the human spirit and the wonder of life. It is a truly poetic film that uses the story of John Smith and Pocahontas to express this commentary. The New World focuses on the clash of differences between two civilizations and how in the mess of differences two people are able to connect and see the beauty of each other. The movie moves slow though, and there are some parts where I found the editing to be a little confusing. Otherwise, I think the film is an incredible emotional journey filled with poetry and brilliant cinematic images. This film and The Thin Red Line are very similar in style. Malick even uses the same motif with birds as he does in The Thin Red Line. You also have the poetic narration of the main characters, and the narration itself can stand alone as poetry, it is truly remarkable. Beautiful landcapes captured brilliantly with the camera, long tracking shots, and many wide shots enhance the surrounding for the audience. He also uses his "sun through the trees" shot multiple times, which I personally loved in The Thin Red Line and even used it a couple times in my projects. All the shots are accompanied by James Horner's acceptable yet somewhat flawed score. In my opinion I thought the score sounded exactly like his work on The Perfect Storm. I was devestated when Hans Zimmer was detached from the project due to scheduling problems, because it was with The Thin Red Line that Zimmer composed his masterpiece. Horner does a good job in my opinion, but at times I felt like it was all too similar and sometimes lacking. The characters are all wonderfully expressed as well, and the change that Pocahontas goes through basically defines the film's central theme of change in surrounding while still retaining your individual personality. This film celebrates humanity and is his counterpart to The Thin Red Line, which basically shows the flaws of humanity. See both film if you have not already, and if you are new to Terrence Malick please have an open mind. This man is a wonderful filmmaker, I wish he wasn't so elusive and would actually do interviews as well do maybe more than 1 movie every decade. Then again, the fact that he has only directed 5 movies in his career since 1969 maybe is his greatest strength, and puts him on the list of top directors in the industry.

ACTING: The film is almost absent of any structural dialogue. Dialogue between characters is rare and brief yet oh so meaningful, and then there is the poetic narration. The actors do a fine job with facial expressions and evoking the right emotions. Colin Farrell is great and plays a character who is in love with Pocahontas and embraces her world. Christian Bale does a fantastic job as the man who falls in love with Pocahontas yet tries to make part of English society. Then we have newcomer Q'Orianka Kilcher who plays Pocahontas, and does an amazing job with the role. The acting is all emotion and hardly any dialogue.

BOTTOM LINE: I talked to my parents after I saw the film, they said that people walked out of the movie at the showing they saw, which didn't suprise me at all. I was happy that no one walked out of the showing I went to. The Thin Red Line got the same response by movie goers that this one is getting. They walk in expecting an intense action drama and end up at a poetry reading, but you can blame decieving marketing for that. Like I said, Terrence Malick isn't for everyone, but if you see it with an open mind you will experience a truly amazing and meaningful film.
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Showing 1-10 of 10 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 29, 2007 9:32:39 PM PDT
TylerB says:
I agree. Some people absolutely hate Malick, including some of my friends, yet I find his films absolutely stunning. This may in fact be my favorite Malick film, yet Days of Heaven is equally as beautiful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 17, 2007 7:35:27 AM PDT
Mark says:
I really enjoyed this film. Although I have to admit, I walked out of The Thin Red Line b/c I was expecting Saving Private Ryan. I need to go see that one again.

Posted on Dec 11, 2007 4:48:13 PM PST
Wow, how could you possibly walk out on this film? I think it is one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen. My only problem was I wanted to see allot more of Q'Orianka Kilcher prancing around like a wild doe. That was totally awesome! I am hoping they come out with this movie on HD or Blu-ray.

Posted on Nov 8, 2008 1:17:23 PM PST
I couldn't agree with you more... This was an absolutely stupendous film. It is interesting that so many of the great directors have their work walked out on in the theatres. It says something about us that I dare not say.

Posted on Aug 21, 2009 8:25:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 21, 2009 8:26:05 PM PDT
Great review of a very under-appreciated film. I only know a few other people that have seen "The New World," and they have all had nothing but good things to say about it. For me, I didn't have the highest expectations going in, so I was very pleasantly surprised. I especially loved and appreciated Malick's portrayals of the interactions between man and nature. The cinematography was nothing short of stunning. This one should have garnered more recognition in the awards races. I agree about James Horner, also. It seems like, since Titanic at least, all of his soundtracks sound very similar (almost like he's just re-using the same styling instead of really creating something brand new).

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2010 3:57:15 PM PDT
Artorius says:
In response to SpartanMark05, I agree with the characterization of James Horner's work, but I would tack on one correction to your description: nearly every soundtrack he has done over the last decade and a half is a rehash of his work on Braveheart. I listen to the soundtracks of Braveheart and Titanic, and I hear the same sounds repeated (especially that one instrument that sounds like a wooden pipe, though I don't know the name of it).

Posted on Nov 15, 2010 9:53:10 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 16, 2010 4:05:04 AM PST
I'd offer that anyone who walks out of a Malick film just hasn't ever seen a Malick film before, because they are all the same, in both what appeals to people about them, and what people also can't stand about them. He is, no doubt, a master with stunning visual images, I'll give him that much.

On the other hand, I can't readily think of any other major movie director whose movies are all so thoroughly imbued with the stamp of the director. The topic of the film hardly seems to matter- The New World, WWII in the Pacific, serial murderers ("Badlands", his motion picture debut)- they all can be summed up efficiently by saying: "This is a Terrence Malick film."

His work will always appeal to a certain audience, and will also always cause a certain audience to get up and leave.

Posted on Dec 10, 2011 10:25:09 PM PST
M. Ivey says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2011 12:09:30 AM PST
Ray D. Tutto says:
If my friends absolutely hated Malick they would not long remain my friends.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2011 12:43:43 AM PST
Kaya Savas says:
I actually just got in an argument on Facebook with some old classmates from film school on how they hated Tree Of Life and hate Malick in general. The only frustrating and ignorant part was that they say all Malick does is make music videos (one of the most ridiculous statements I've heard in my life).
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