Friday, February 24, 2006

The New World (2005)

I think loving Terrence Malick's new film means giving up entirely on the concept of narrative. Visually, it's an easy film to get into -- it's beautifully made and realized. As a film, though, it never feels whole. Granted, there are certainly great pieces within. The best scenes, in fact, are the wordless visual ballets between Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher (who is impressive in her debut, projecting a genuine purity); these scenes, imposing in their easy grace, give the idea of two people forging a connection in the shadow of a utopia that will never be found. (When Christopher Plummer, midway through the film, intones, "Eden lies before us still," the only appropriate response is: No it doesn't.) But for all Malick's panache, he can't keep the film moving. What should be hypnotic instead feels abrupt and weightless. Character transitions, both physical and emotional, are similarly hard to pin down. (Did I miss something, or does David Thewlis actually disappear in the middle of a scene?) The early scenes are shot through with an overwhelming sense of awe, but this later gives way to confusion and disconnection. Maybe that's the point. Maybe I need to see this again.

Grade: B-


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home