Feverishly Beloved and Still Underseen


Feverishly beloved and still underseen, Terrence Malick’s fabulously Rousseauian imagining of the Jamestown-Pocahontas slice of American history may be something of a litmus test, separating one kind of pragmatic filmgoer from his/her more swoony, romantic counterpart. It’s as easy to get caught up in Malick’s rapturous wilderness ballet as it is to deride it later, but it’s a different sort of historical film: one whose heart breaks for the onslaught of civilization. Like Malick, Colin Farrell’s John Smith is understandably besotted with ecological dreaminess in the form of Swiss-Peruvian gamine Q’Orianka Kilcher as the unnamed native maiden, gamboling around the sunstruck meadows like a forest sprite with a smile bright enough to make you forget yourself. This is the 2006 version, shorn of an original 16 or so minutes, and it’s only for the better. The additionals are limited to a making-of doc—a situation that will doubtlessly change with the inevitable release of the extended-cut version.