Yeah, ok. This wouldn't have been my favorite movie of 2005, mainly because there's a lie at its core that I find disconcerting, to say the least, but it's my favorite Terrence Malick movie since Badlands, and I guess that's saying something. And it moved me, which is more than I could say for The Thin Red Line. Oh, silence your gasping, ye
acolytes. Malick's poesy and his stunning images, including the nature cutaways, feel far more organic to this tale of colonization than they did to his WWII drama. They jolted me right out of that movie, and made me all too aware of the "visionary" behind the camera. The New World works as cinema on many levels. It is a coherent and beautiful film, and Q’Orianka Kilcher was absolutely amazing. ("Still wearing that rabbit fur coat" above) If I were to vote on my best actress/breakthrough performance awards for the OFCS today, she would be right at the top of each category. It goes beyond the "ray-of-sunshine" naturalism that Seitz describes. This is a startlingly complex and nuanced performance. Her character changes radically through the story, she assimilates, and yet she retains her essence. There is not a false note in Kilcher's work here, amazing to consider how young she is. (I was trying to resist the urge to put in a defensive aside to Lisa here, but I guess it was too strong. I know how you think. Come now. I am a professional. Let me work here.)
Anyway, the film itself--despite my reservations about it, and how it depicts the growing conflict between Native Americans & colonists--definitely merits another one of my many, increasingly meaningless honorable mentions for 2005.