The New World
Terence Malick has now directed 4 films: Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The Thin Red Line (1998), and now this one. Four films in 33 years. That’s less than Stanley Kubrick’s output, but until now I’d almost have ranked him with Mr. K. No longer. Though he has his own unique vision, it has always been in danger of skating over the edge into turgidity, and this one plops right into a mudhole. The only thing good I can say about it is that the cinematography is, as usual, very very good. Everything else sucks. It is slow, pretentious, self-consciously arty, the editing is fractured for no good reason. The ponderous narration is just awful. Colin Farrell is brooding and uninteresting. Pocahontas, played by 14-year-old Q’Orianka Kilcher, acts like a flower child from the ‘60s. Tie-dye jeans and a peace symbol would have looked perfectly suitable on her peek-a-boo buckskins. We gave it an hour (this is Terence Malick, after all), and bailed out. I realize I might have missed something interesting, when Pocahontas marries John Rolfe and goes to England, but frankly, I was pretty sure I’d be asleep before she got there.