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Wednesday, January 25, 2006:
The New World
Full synopsis from Moviefone:
Colin Farrell plays the adventurous John Smith, who fought in Hungary and endured slavery in Turkey before sailing to America to pursue his destiny there. When this historical drama by Terrence Malick ('Badlands,' 'The Thin Red Line') begins, it is 1607; Smith is 27 years old and one of a group of British colonists hoping to establish a permanent settlement at Jamestown, Va., an uncharted spot on the edge of the New World. At first, Smith's fate doesn't seem promising, as he's been locked up in the brig for insubordination and is awaiting execution once the ship reaches shore. But in this unpredictable wilderness, every able-bodied man is needed, and so the charismatic Smith is set free. While exploring the lands beyond the settlement, he meets the headstrong and beautiful Pocahontas (newcomer Q'Orianka Kilcher), daughter of the powerful Chief Powhatan (August Schellenberg), who governs the land that the colonists are determined to tame. As the relationship between Smith and Pocahontas -- two passionate, fiercely independent people bound by duty, yet also to each other -- deepens, they must survive an attempt on Smith's life, Pocahontas' marriage to another man, and a looming conflict in which the triumph of one culture entails the sacrifice of another. The movie, which features gorgeous cinematography and meticulous attention to historical detail, also stars Christopher Plummer as Captain Christopher Newport and Christian Bale as John Rolfe.
This movie was not quite what I was expecting, but that actually made me enjoy it even more.  There's not a lot of fighting and violence; the action is rather minimal.  Instead the movie focuses more on relationships.  For example, people's relationship with the land, and how the Indians respected the earth and were rewarded, while the settlers came more to the land with a sense of entitlement and were cursed.  We also see the relationships between people.  When John Smith is taken by the Indians and saved from death by Pocahontas, we see the gradual discovery between them as they become more and more fascinated with each other.  Their feelings are unspoken by words, but evident in their actions as they dance slowly around each other, a hand reaching out to caress the other's face, the way they light up when the other is near.  There are moments when all you hear is their thoughts, and the sound of the wind.  It lulls you into a pleasantly calm state, and you are absorbed by the slow pace of the movie and the beauty of the land.  One of my favorite things about the movie is Pocahontas' fascination with life, and living things.  While is was a young child when we first meet her, you see it in her as she becomes older - she never loses her sense of wonder.
If you are looking for lots of action scenes or even passionate love scenes, this is not the movie for you.  Admittedly there are some wonderful shirtless scenes of Colin Farrell, but they are fairly innocent and not setting the stage for seduction.  This movie is a lot  about respect and consequences.  Let yourself by hypnotized the the sounds of nature and you'll feel the stress drain from your body as it captures your attention and stays with you long after the film has ended.     

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