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August 15, 2006
English / Algonquin
135 Minutes

Once discovered, it was changed forever.

Long, quiet, beautiful. Malick through and through. Not much dialogue. I little voiceover work to move the plot along. Colin Ferrell is Captain John Smith. Pocahontas (whose name is never uttered for some mysterious reason) is played by Q'Orianka Kilcher, a newcomer who can only be described as luminous. She is playful and curious and for some reason jumps on Smith just before his execution and then becomes his friend and later his lover. She was 12 or 13 years old. Putting aside the historical accuracy of this tale, I wanted to think that the two hotties would inevitably hook up. We don't see much of anything (partially due to Kilcher being 14 years old during filming) happen physically between them. Mostly they wrestle and talk about their love.

He instructs a friend to tell her he's died on a trip back to England. She mourns, learns English, gets baptized as "Rebecca", marries a tobacco farmer, John Rolfe, and travels to England as a sort of curiosity.

In fact, most of the stuff that happened, besides the never-proven romance with Smith, really happened.

But it's not about their love, it's about the type of men and the type of country who would travel across a treacherous ocean in order to map and claim land which is already inhabited.

Malick makes Virginia look pristine and full of promise. You can see why settlers thought that they couldn't use up all the continent's resources in a hundred lifetimes. The Englishmen fight with the "naturals" one minute, trade the next, are saved by their generous food, and then killed by them. This happens with little or no reasoning behind it. Or at least we're not shown any reason.

Malick's THIN RED LINE also showed natural beauty spoiled by human war. There may be no one who photographs land as lovingly as he.

6.9 Metacritic
**** Ebert



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