Captain Smith is spared his mutinous hanging sentence after captain Newport's ship arrives in 1607 to found Jamestown, an English colony in Virginia. The initially friendly natives, who have no personal property concept, turn hostile after a 'theft' is 'punished' violently on the spot. During an armed exploration, Smith is captured, but spared when the chief's favorite daughter Pocahontas pleads for the stranger who soon becomes her lover and learns to love their naive 'savage' way of harmonious life. Ultimately he returns to the grim fort, which would starve hadn't she arranged for Indian generosity. Alas, each side soon brands their own lover a traitor, so she is banished and he flogged as introduction to slavish toiling. Changes turn again, leading Smith to accept a northern-more mission and anglicized Pocahontas, believing him dead, becoming the mother of aristocratic new lover John Rolfe's son. They'll meet again for a finale in England. Written by
This film was everything I had hoped for and infinite volumes more. Writer/Director Terrence Malik simply refuses to see film-making as anything short of an art form and handles his brushes (not to mention every frame) with the tender care and command of an artistic master.
The warnings are true... if you're looking for standard Hollywood fare, then run away. However, if you were trying hard to remember what film-making is supposed to be about, then this film is an absolute MUST SEE. While it is not forcefully spiritual in its aural narrative, I found this film to be a deeply religious experience in ways that words fail to express.
True to form, Malik affords the world of this film as much character as the humans themselves possess. Long stretches of nothing but ambient, nat sounds. Stunning snapshots of the peripheral influences to each scene (i.e. blowing grass, running streams, towering trees). Even an ending title sequence that lives beyond the narrative... breathing the last breaths of a tale that has managed to regularly transcends words.
Sharp. Detailed. Purposeful. Bold. Brilliant.
I have not been this happy about a film in a very long time. Well worth the money. Well worth the time. You will leave better for having seen it.
I could not recommend it more!
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