The New World (2005)
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it wasn't a movie, it was an experience
The first hour of the extended edition is some of the most beautiful meditative film making I've ever seen. It's just such a shame they overbear this point in the last hour and make it too much of a romantic drama, it feels far too flabby. That said, the first act is a masterclass in how to get tenderness and beauty out of your environment and actors, I've never seen anything quite like it.
Definitely an experience, I was reluctant to watch this film because of all of the backlash even knowing that I have a soft spot for Malick's pieces, however I loved its pacing, the daring decisions he usually takes storywise, the bold camera work. And in that, The New World proved to be no different than his other works.
For me, the first part of the story was shot in the best way posible, allowing us as audience to feel immerse in every shot, the camera work manages to let us feel included in the characters' points of view. Lubezki showed us the level of craftsmanship he has in himself. Q'orianka Kilcher achieved an engaging and powerful portrayal, now I cannot imagine this film without her. Lastly, the use of music was exquisite as well.
Basically, the only issue I have is not with the film itself, but with the source material, I cannot trust the conquistadores' point of view to be accurate and as tender in real life, but we'll never know, but for me is just common sense, colonialism was never respectful, nor gentle, nor even thoughtful in its approach.
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In 9 official lists
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This movie ranks #9 in A.V. Club's The Best Movies of the 2000s
This movie ranks #39 in BBC's The 21st Century's 100 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #91 in TSPDT's 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
This movie ranks #92 in FilmTotaal Forum's Top 100
This movie ranks #156 in A.V. Club's The New Cult Canon
This movie ranks #156 in Cahiers du Cinéma's Annual Top 10 Lists
This movie ranks #244 in FOK!'s Film Top 250
This movie ranks #679 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films
This movie ranks #968 in The Criterion Collection