The New World (2005)


Drama | History | Romance


Terence Malick




Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, Wes Studi, David Thewlis, Yorick van Wageningen, Ben Mendelsohn, Raoul Trujillo, Brian F. O'Byrne, Irene Bedard, John Savage, Alex Rice, Jamie Harris


It follows English explorer John Smith (Colin Farrell) as he befriends and falls in love with Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), a Native American princess.


I remember trying to watch this film about 10 years ago and quitting after 10 minutes because it was beyond boring. I now decided to give it another try because of Colin Farrell, but I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Maybe it's my fault, I should have never picked the extended cut, but I still find "The New World" a little tedious. But it's kind of interesting and engaging as well. I'm not sure how that's even possible.

After Disney's "Pocahontas", Malick brought to the screen the grown-up version of the story of the Native American princess in a very weird way. Almost lacking a plot and because of Malick's style, this film is rather soporific and even hard to follow - and the love story lacks any emotional charge. The weird thing is that, somehow, although it is beyond boring, I soon found myself hooked into the story, and the film kept my attention until the very last scene.

Then there is the narration by John Smith and Pocahontas. It is dreamy and poetic yet utterly annoying. It is minimal and rather illogical but I guess that's how it is supposed to be in a film that is trying to portray the human need to communicate and the struggle to do that when language is a barrier.

And then there's a thing about the film I cannot help but love, the visuals. That is pure art. This is easily one of the most beautifully photographed films I've ever seen. From the stunning scenery to the exchanged looks between the characters that were superbly captured by the camera, "The New World" is a visual feast.

The cast, the reason I decided to give this film another chance, does a good job. Colin Farrell's sad eyes are something else, really. And his narration - he reads as if he was whispering to himself - is fantastic. Q'orianka Kilcher was the real surprise to me though. While she doesn't excel in the narration, she let her body language and face expressions do all the talking while on camera.


  1. Ugh...this movie. Beyond boring is far more accurate than a little tedious. Watching this isn't like watching paint dry. It's like watching someone else watch paint dry. Sure, the visuals make it pretty paint, but jeez. The fact that a John Smith/Pocahontas love affair never actually happened didn't help endear the film to me. F'in Malick.

    1. For me, it was all about getting into the story. As soon as I started following it, like focusing really hard, it wasn't that bad. But I haven't seen the original cut, so chances are that version is worse than this one.