So we have the release of the year for me. To simplify this film, is to empty it of so much. Some have said it is the story of John Smith and his relationship with Pocahontas. Or you could call it the story of the Jamestown settlement. Or you could equally call it the story of two civilizations being both joined and harmed by their interactions. You finally could call it the reversal of the Western concept of ‘The New World’? Such is the depth and breadth of this film, that putting a simple tagline on it, does it and us a disservice.

We begin with the landing of the three ships sent by English royal charter to found a colony in the New World. 1607, as they land Pocahontas (played with beautiful vulnerability and wide eyed questioning by Q’orianka Kilcher) watches.  She is the adventurous daughter of Chief Powhatan. Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) is aboard the ship having been sentenced to death for mutinous remarks. Once ashore he is granted a pardon by Captain Christopher Newport (Christopher Plummer), who is leader of the expedition. At this point the film clearly defines history, reality and our bias. It does so in order to then allow the  two cultures, to infuse ideas. Those of culture, history, place, life and love.

Malick explores the internal monologue. This pivots the personal with the actual. Sometimes revealing profound ideas of place and personal meaning. As tensions with local Native Americans spill over into conflict, action begets reaction. Malick defining of the historical events are personal and subjective. They also are not historically accurate. But they are profound. Intelligent and intimate but exceptional to watch.


Which brings us to the versions. It is not uncommon for a director to bugger around with cuts. Malicks TREE OF LIFE has a longer cut as well. Like so many who liked this film, I saw the 2 versions offered on DVD. Here the longer cut has been born anew. Offering both textured visual hues, wonderful transitions of light and the deep, green, greens. The HD versions of both 150 and 135 minute versions are solid, if not remarkable. I would like to thank Criterion for this. I also would suggest to the first time viewer to start at the 150 minute version. This is the most balanced and most well told without toil or strife.


The films themselves are rich reward in truth. Austin Jack Lynch already seen documentary is engaging and gets Malick as an auteur. I would recommend the The New World cutting program. This intelligently discusses why, what and how, a film is constructed by an editor and how this marries a vision and a version.


  • New 4K digital restoration of the 172-minute extended cut of the film, supervised by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and director Terrence Malick and featuring material not released in theatres, with both theatrical and near-field 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks
  • High-definition digital transfers of the 150-minute first cut and the 135- minute theatrical cut of the film, with 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks
  • New interviews with actors Colin Farrell and Q’orianka Kilcher
  • New programme about the making of the film, featuring interviews with producer Sarah Green, production designer Jack Fisk, and costume designer Jacqueline West
  • Making “The New World,” a documentary shot during the production of the film in 2004, directed and edited by Austin Jack Lynch
  • New program about the process of cutting The New World and its various versions, featuring interviews with editors Hank Corwin, Saar Klein, and Mark Yoshikawa
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: A book featuring an essay by film scholar Tom Gunning, a 2006 interview with Lubezki from American Cinematographer, and a selection of materials that inspired the production

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