Best of… Series – 2005 – The New World

As a way to mix some of my old reviews in with my new reviews, I’m starting a Best of… Series. In this series, I will review my favorite movie of each year. I’m starting with 2005 because the best film out of ’05 just happens to be my favorite movie of all time.

The New World (Terrence Malick, 2005)

When thinking about Terrence Malick’s film The New World, I can’t help but recall the feelings of a cinematic experience as opposed to a mere movie viewing. In fact, it’s this ‘experience effect’ that puts a movie at the top of my list. The New World just happens to be my favorite film experience.

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Malick, in addition to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, have put on film the most beautiful visual film ever made. It is said that Malick and Lubezki set rules before shooting, one of which being that every shot that would make the final cut must be beautiful – every shot. And it shows. The movement of the camera combined with the movement of nature and characters make for an emotionally poetic effect. Combine that with the crew’s ability to capture natural light, reflection, shadow, etc. in some of its most amazing states, and you have what I call visual perfection.

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Unbelievably enough, the poetry created by the cinematography is only a portion of what makes this film so sublime. The dialogue (the way it is written as well as presented) also contributes greatly. Malick has been known to coax great performances out of sub-par actors, and he does no differently in The New World. He makes Colin Farrell seem important yet humble, and quiet yet loving. His performance, combined with Q’orianka Kilcher’s phenomenal debut performance help mold this movie into so much much more than just eye candy. The love expressed by the two characters in the film is amazingly real. The looks Kilcher gives as she experiences feelings she’s never had before, the words used in both her and Farrell’s poetic voiceovers, and the juxtaposition of their love with the beautiful surrounding nature all enhance the rawness of this unexpected love.

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The film does delve a bit in the abstract. The story follows a first act, second act, third act line rather closely, but in each of these acts, the film is edited in a way that mixes present-time with memory, and even mixes memory upon memory. There are several instances where the couple is together that could be a memory, happening presently, or even merely an imagined daydream. And, quite frankly, it doesn’t matter which they are. The editing of the musical score, the voiceovers, and the sounds of nature also weave their way into these images, and when it’s all said and done, you have a perfect outcome.

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Every time I re-watch this film I notice something I did not in each of the previous viewings. The earth and its beauty, and human beings and their beauty are both brought forth in ways I have never seen on film. Seeing people and nature – God’s greatest creations – in such personal ways really has a way of taking me away for a moment. 10/10

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By the way, I thought I should say that this is probably the longest review you will read here. I plan to keep these concise to help keep readers more involved. There are plenty of sources for long reviews using big, professional film terms. I plan to take a different approach, if possible.

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4 Responses to “Best of… Series – 2005 – The New World”

  1. Good stuff. Thanks for the reviews. I will certainly keep up so I can get some insightful reviews of films that I should watch.

    I think I might start the same kind of blog for music. It sounds fun.

  2. Hey, Chris – I watched the extended version a few days ago (again) and thought about you. So incredible. Also, I watched Silent Light because you recommended it and absolutely fell in love with it….so beautiful. I saw that you now have this site from your post on RT which came into my GMail, so now I am tempted to get one of these sites. I’ve got a ton of stuff going on (just bought a new house and will be moving soon), but I hope to get one of these sites soon. I tried a Google blogger site but just couldn’t get into it. Hopefully we’ll talk soon!

    • chrisfilm Says:

      Max! Thanks for coming by. Congrats on the house. If you ever start up a blog, definitely let me know. I think wordpress is easier to use than blogspot, so give this a try if you want.

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