The New World (2005)

The New World (2005) — So first thing’s first: this review applies to the director’s cut of the film. How is that different from the theatrical cut? Don’t know. Don’t really care either. Terrence Malick is one of those directors whose films I prefer to see in their intended state (the rumors of a long-lost five-hour cut of The Thin Red Line get me semi-tumescent). So my thoughts on The New World: I liked it. It did seem a little overlong but I can’t say what, if anything, I would have cut. Every single image in the film is beautiful. It’s not a perfect film, but a wonderfully meditative one. I did have a problem with some of the voice over. Typically I consider Malick to be one of the best employers of voice over but it wasn’t clear and at several point overlapped with dialogue. I had to turn the subtitles on, which I generally hate doing. The performances fit the film very well. I think when the movie came out people were getting sick of Colin Farrell (especially on the heels of Oliver Stone’s Alexander) and it’s a shame this movie was hurt by that at the box office. Then again these types of movies are never destined to be blockbusters. Terrence Malick’s movies (I’ve only seen 3, but then again that accounts for 75% of his output in the past forty years) tend to be poetic, in the transcendentalist subgenre and while I wouldn’t consider it a masterpiece it’s a good flick for art-house film buffs.

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