New World
  • New World
  • New World

New World

3.7 23
Director: Terrence Malick

Cast: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer


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Terrence Malick, the universally acclaimed American filmmaker responsible for the key 1970s features Badlands and Days of Heaven, returns for a rare directorial outing with the sweeping period piece The New World -- an epic dramatization of Pocahontas' relationships with John Smith and JohnSee more details below


Terrence Malick, the universally acclaimed American filmmaker responsible for the key 1970s features Badlands and Days of Heaven, returns for a rare directorial outing with the sweeping period piece The New World -- an epic dramatization of Pocahontas' relationships with John Smith and John Rolfe. Malick's story opens at the dawn of the 17th century, just prior to the colonization of the United States -- when the North American population consisted of an interconnected series of native tribes. In April 1607, three maritime vessels approach the unfamiliar continent, with 103 sailors on board. As members of the Virginia Company, these adventurers carry a royal charter to mount a society on the edge of the new continent. John Smith (Colin Farrell) sits chained below one of the decks. He is a 27-year-old loose cannon, who, for his persistently rebellious acts, has been sentenced to death by hanging as soon as the ships dock. Nevertheless, Captain Christopher Newport (Christopher Plummer) acknowledges Smith's ability to aid with exploration and consents to pardon him as a result. Upon landing, Smith seeks assistance from local Native American tribes with colonization, but runs into the unexpected -- he falls desperately in love with Pocahontas, or "Playful One" (Q'orianka Kilcher), the daughter of the omnipotent Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg). Needless to say, this does not sit well with Powhatan or the rest of the tribe. Moreover, the oft-bellicose Smith enters a head-to-head conflict with his fellow Britons when he finds his tempestuousness calmed by the tranquility of the new landscape, as the anger and violence of his shipmates concurrently build in the face of the Native Americans. Later, Smith temporarily returns to England; believing that Smith is dead, Pocahontas accepts the hand of plantation owner John Rolfe in marriage (with her father's blessing) and follows Rolfe back to the old country. When Smith returns to America, his intended is nowhere to be seen, and the entire community teeters on the brink of a British-Indian war. Malick shot the production on location in Virginia; it co-stars Jonathan Pryce, John Savage, and David Thewlis.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Writer-director Terrence Malick has made only four feature films in a 30-plus-year career -- The New World arrived eight years after his previous film, The Thin Red Line -- each unique and noteworthy. As anyone who's seen his extraordinary 1978 film, Days of Heaven, knows, Malick is a painterly crafter of images. In this respect he is, perhaps, the most sensual American filmmaker working today, and The New World represents him in peak form. Rather than focus on the 17th-century Pocahontas legend -- in which the Native American princess saves colonist John Smith from death at the hands of her father and fellow tribesmen -- Malick recounts the (generally) true story of the young girl's subsequent marriage to an English gentleman, her education, and her journey to Britain. An unusually restrained and dignified Colin Farrell plays Smith, who loves Pocahontas (although she is never referred to as such) but leaves her heartbroken to find his destiny elsewhere. Christian Bale is John Rolfe, a gentleman entranced by the native girl. Most captivating of all is the 15-year-old Q'Orianka Kilcher, an exotic beauty who turns in one of the most astonishing performances ever seen from a film newcomer. She seems practically ethereal, a word that would also apply to the director's visuals; Malick's colorful vistas of the lush, verdant, and still pristine North American countryside are as much a part of the story as Pocahontas herself. The New World unfolds at a slow, stately pace, paying little heed to the demands of typical Hollywood product. This meditative approach allows the story's emotional power, and the setting's grandeur, to accumulate with the passage of time and lend the film a truly epic quality.
All Movie Guide
Terrence Malick aims for a kind of psychological realism through poetics in this stupendous reexamination of the Pocahontas myth. From the opening, when a group of frolicking Powhatan natives spy the approaching ships of Captain Newport (Christopher Plummer) from the future Virginia's verdant shores, it's clear that Malick is less interested in historical accuracy than in a ground-level positing of how colonization was emotionally experienced when Jacobean England discovered a "new world." As in most tellings of the story, Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) and Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), through their romance, function as agents promoting change and peaceful integration of their respective cultures. But their good intentions are easily complicated; the probing voice-overs reveal them struggling to understand and never coming to terms with their desires. (A real-life romance most likely did not occur.) Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography employs the usual painterly imagery and break-away nature shots of Malick's other films, but in this film these techniques are perhaps best integrated into thematic structure, referencing the idea of "virgin land" and the role physical environment plays in cultural identity. The actors are universally strong, particularly Christian Bale's final-act appearance as the pious John Rolfe. Kilcher, 14 at the time of shooting, gives a mind-bogglingly complex revelatory performance that nearly overwhelms at the unexpected rush of the closing moments. In Malick's notoriously miniscule oeuvre, The New World easily stands as one of his best films.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
New Line Home Video

Special Features

Making the New World: Comprehensive 10-part documentary; Theatrical trailers

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Colin Farrell John Smith
Q'orianka Kilcher Pocahontas
Christopher Plummer Capt. Christopher Newport
Christian Bale John Rolfe
August Schellenberg Chief Powhatan
Wes Studi Opechancanough
David Thewlis Capt. Edward Wingfield
Yorick Van Wageningen Captain Argall
Ben Mendelsohn Actor,Ben
Raoul Trujillo Tomocomo
Brian F. O'Byrne Actor,Lewes
Irene Bedard Actor,Pocahontas' Mother
John Savage Actor,Savage
Jamie Harris Actor,Emery
Alex Rice Actor,Patawomeck's Wife
Michael Greyeyes Actor,Rupwew
Kalani Queypo Parahunt
Noah Taylor Actor,Selway
Jonathan Pryce Actor,King James
Alexandra Malick Actor,Queen Anne

Technical Credits
Terrence Malick Director,Screenwriter
Craig Berkey Sound/Sound Designer
Ivan Bess Associate Producer
Richard Chew Editor
Hank Corwin Editor
David Crank Art Director
Kathleen Driscoll-Mohler Casting
Toby Emmerich Executive Producer
Paul Engelen Makeup
Jack Fisk Production Designer
Jose Antonio Garcia Sound/Sound Designer
Sarah Green Producer
Sarah Hauldren Art Director
Rene Haynes Casting
Trish Hofmann Executive Producer
James Horner Score Composer
Saar Klein Editor
Emmanuel Lubezki Cinematographer
Francine Maisler Casting
Bill Mechanic Executive Producer
Rolf Mittweg Executive Producer
Mark Ordesky Executive Producer
Sandhya Shardanand Associate Producer
Billy Weber Associate Producer
Jacqueline West Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark Yoshikawa Editor
Michele Ziegler Asst. Director

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