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New World, The (Terrence Malick)

Director(s): Terrence Malick

Theatrical Release: 2005

Cast: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale, August Schellenberg, David Thewlis

Genre(s): Drama, romance, period piece

Countries: USA


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Running Time: 135m.

Terrence Malick, one of America's most respected and least prolific filmmakers, returns to the director's chair with this epic-scale historical drama. In 1607, British naval officer Captain Newport (Christopher Plummer) is leading the first expedition to the "New World," the continent whose presence was first speculated by Amerigo Vespucci a century before. One of the sailors accompanying Newport is Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), who is valued for his skills as a fighter and a seaman, but also possesses a sharp temper and spends much of the voyage bound in chains because of disputes with his shipmates. When Newport and his men first set foot on the New World's soil, they have no idea what to expect, and are met by a handful of "naturals," as the British come to call the natives, who seem at once amused and puzzled by their visitors. Newport appoints Smith leader of a band ordered to explore the territory, and Powhatan (August Schellenberg), tribal leader of the natives, isn't sure what to make of the uninvited guests. When Powhatan decides the sailors are not going to leave of their own volition, he orders his warriors to attack them; several of the invaders are killed, but at the insistence of his daughter Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), the rest are spared, including Smith. Smith is one of the men left behind when Newport returns to England for supplies, and he soon becomes infatuated with the beautiful Pocahontas, and finds his edgy personality is soothed by the unspoiled beauty of this new land. At the same time, he is frequently at odds with the ugly and avaricious nature of his own people and their crude settlement. After Newport returns to the New World, Smith is sent home, and Pocahontas comes to believe that he is dead; when John Rolfe (Christian Bale), who has established a tobacco plantation, asks Powhatan for Pocohontas' hand in marriage, he grants the request, and takes her back to England with him. When Smith finally returns to his beloved new land, he discovers the woman he loves is gone, and the British settlers and the "naturals" are on the verge of war. Shot on location in Virginia, The New World also features David Thewlis, Jonathan Pryce, and John Savage. -- Mark Deming (allmovie.com)

+ Making The New World (60 min. documentary)
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