Thursday, July 21, 2011

The New World

As Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) arrives in Jamestown in chains in 1607 and is pardoned for his mutinous ways, he is sent on a mission by Captain Newport (Christopher Plummer) to trade with the local tribes. There he has an extended stay as he learns the ways of the native people and falls in love with Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), the beautiful and beloved daughter of the mighty Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg). When he returns to the settlement, his pacifistic nature upsets the settlers who begin to engage the natives in war. Smith continues his love affair with Pocahontas until he is sent on an exploratory mission. At this point, she is brought to live in the settlement and eventually marries John Rolfe (Christian Bale), an admirable plantation owner. The New World was Terrence Malick's fourth film since his career began some 33 years prior and contains all the beauty and wonder we have come to expect from his films. Shot on location in Virginia, The New World almost casts a spell with its stunning imagery and trademark Malick laconic narration. The film also contains a spectacular and should have been breakthrough performance from Kilcher as the intelligent and playful Pocahontas. Although the film is typically light on narrative, Malick once again crafts such a hypnotically spellbinding wonder that makes it difficult to harp on its shortcomings.