Not to make this the New World Blog, but….well wait, a minute, that does sound pretty nice. After having just seen the new cut of Terrence Malick’s great film, I feel moved more than ever to grab people by the lapels and drag them in for a viewing. I do not intend to reiterate all the fine points that have been made on this blog, as well as in our indieWIRE column, as well as in our upcoming issue of Reverse Shot, so I’ll just say that there is a marked difference between the 135 minute cut and the earlier, December 150-minute+ cut, although it’s distinctly in rhythm rather than in content. Assorted trims here and there create a quicker montage feel, and the languorous tall-grass idylls of Colin Farrell and Q’orianka Kilcher have been trimmed considerably. Streamlined is, perhaps, a peculiar word for a film made of such attenuated longing and passion, but this cut feels glorious, at once focused and meandering, like all of Malick’s great work.
However, what’s most important is what’s stayed the same, and what could never be taken away. All of The New World’s layered philosophical ruminations, like those of any true artist, are so embedded in the text that it’s necessary to forget them completely and let Malick’s painterly images wash over you. The New World visually is Malickian, yet there has never been a Malick film predominated so fully by one character; and dare I say that Kilcher’s performance, fittingly, is one for the history books. And don’t let the buffoonish critics and viewers dissuade you by idiotic accusations of the film’s “slowness” (arrrrgggggh, let me kill a critic now…just one, please?); The New World moves with the force of great poetry. Anyone who thinks they like the idea of “moving pictures” better kick Soderbergh, Eli Roth, and Crash to the curb and get their ass in the theater. If the final 20 minutes don’t move you, you shouldn’t be watching movies. And the title shouldn’t be taken as something antiquated: Malick’s The New World, truly, without a whiff of hyperbole, is so fresh and cleansing an artistic statement that it indeed made me feel like I was looking at our world as something utterly new.