I’m going to take a chance here and guess that if you’re reading this blog, you’re either not totally sick of hearing about The New World or else you’re visiting for the first time and have yet to realize that you’ve stumbled into a hotbed of Terrence Malick fanaticism (and a fair amount of heated dissent, let’s not forget). I haven’t posted anything new on this masterpiece in ages—five whole days, as a matter of fact!—but this gigantic sailing ship of a movie just keeps gathering wind speed as more and more people discover or rediscover its majesty. For now I urge you to check out Friday’s posting on the Reverse Shot blog, where Robbiefreeling beats the drum for Malick one more time. This particular cause has maunevered them, me, Philadelphia Weekly critic Sean Burns, Philadelphia City Paper critic Sam Adams, New York Magazine’s Bilge Ebiri, Los Angeles Times critic Corina Chocano, New York Times critic Manohla Dargis, Armond White, much of Slant Magazine, most of the critics who post on The House Next Door, much of the Cinemarati circle, and many other critical sources who almost never agree on anything into the same camp, where they now find themselves speaking with a more or less united voice—an urgent, idealistic voice, the likes of which has not been heard in America for some time.
Malick awakened this goodhearted beast. As I keep saying, The New World is not merely a movie, but a generation-defining event, and perhaps a decisive moment for Hollywood cinema. To continue to praise it (or knock it, or just talk about it) is to pour more fuel on pop art’s long-smoldering fire. To buy a ticket is to express faith in the notion that the phrase “blockbuster art” need not be an oxymoron. Go see it; and if you’ve seen it, see it again. It’s money well-spent.
Matt Zoller Seitz is the founder of The House Next Door.