You probably already know the basics, as told by Disney: Young Native American princess Pocahontas (outstanding newcomer Q'orianka Kilcher) falls for handsome English explorer John Smith (Colin Farrell), becomes "civilized," and visits the royal court in London. But facts and plot points are somewhat irrelevant to writer-director Terrence Malick, who makes tone poems rather than narrative films. Long takes that drift through streams and forests, voice-over inner monologues from multiple characters, and people who show up without explanation or backstory are the director's stock-in-trade, but unlike his nigh-incoherent Thin Red Line, this movie isn't choppy or scattershot in its focus. All this may sound daunting, and it is, but at the heart of it all is an entrancing lead performance by the teenage Kilcher, who embodies both free spirit and repressed soul, as the story commands. America "loses its innocence" at least once a generation, and Malick shows that this is a longer-standing tradition than we may have thought.
Director: Terrence Malick
Writer: Terrence Malick
Producer: Sarah Green
Cast: Colin Farrell, Christian Bale, Q'orianka Kilcher, Jason Baca, Greg Cooper, Michael Greyeyes, Jamie Harris, Eddie Marsan, Ben Mendelsohn, Christopher Plummer, Kalani Queypo and August Schellenberg