films of the decade

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I just came across this Stylus list of top films of the decade as rated by the writers on Stylus’ film staff and was so damn pleased to see that The New World was in the top five of at least three writer’s lists. Not that many people will read this list, or that this list will put The New World on the radar, but I feel justified that my intense emotional reaction to this film (I saw it twice in one weekend!) wasn’t some freaky anomaly specific to me.

Stylus reviewer, Paolo Cabrelli, writes about The New World:

The director is mesmerized by the quiet details of being alive, the play between light and dark, knowing and unknowing, the experience of thinking and existing […] Like all true moments of epiphany and meaning, the power and significance goes beyond a capacity for description.

People either love or hate this film. Almost immediately after it was released a fierce cult following developed (see: The Church of the New World) and debate raged among film blogs and critics as to whether or not the film was a brilliant masterpiece channeling some holy celluloid power, or just a piece of contentious tripe. It was bizarre how staunchly people either worshiped or vehemently despised this film! In my mind, there is no question that this film is Terrence Malick’s self-indulgent masterpiece. (I’ve recently developed a taste for films wherein the director indulges themselves and to hell with the audience.) At times, The New World is more like watching a poem than a film, but rather than finding this tedious or pretentious, I found it refreshing and beautiful.

Please, if you have not seen this film and enjoy historical epics or Native American culture or films outside-the-box (and don’t have a severe aversion to Colin Farrell), for the love of God, you really must rent this DVD and spend a quiet night at home watching this powerful film.


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