"The New World" Throwback Review
*Watched the 172-minute extended edition*
It feels unfair to assign a numerical rating to a Terrence Malick film. He is the prime example of film being a purely subjective art form.
I can't explain why The Tree of Life is one of the best films ever made and Song to Song is pretentious trash, despite both of them being nearly the exact same in style and story.
The title, The New World, has multiple meanings as the film tells the story of John Smith and Pocahontas's reaction to the unknown lands and customs they experience.
But like all Malick films, the plot description you read is only just a snippet of the entire product. It's more contemplative than literal, inviting you into a poetic world filled with more beauty than the eye can comprehend.
Malick supplies you with all the pieces you have come to expect. Absolutely gorgeous cinematography, whisper narration, a wonderful score, and great "acting" (what is acting in a Malick film?). It is up to you to find meaning and worth in what he is giving you.
For me, I found the first half to be some of the best work Malick has ever done. His exploration of the "savage life", one filled with holistic community, makes you want to leave your reality behind and leap into the screen. Kevin Costner may have done this in Dances with Wolves, but Malick outshines him with his rolling camera as it takes a much more observational tone.
What has become a trademark of Malick is that the second half rapidly loses momentum as it mainly rehashes the same points. The film is saved by the final ten minutes, but the 100-160-minute span feels rough.
The New World makes you cry tears of beauty and tears of boredom. It is the best kind of art as it makes you look at the world around you a little different than before.