Terrence Malick makes, on the whole, boring films. Of course the beauty of the cinematography and the peaceful, contemplative aura of the production could well be another way of say “boring” and I’ll hold my hand up to that. I like contemplative films sometimes, but the juxtaposition of violence and nature (Malick’s recent tip) has always been a no-brainer to me. Mind you that’s to many Wildlife On One programmes sat through as a nipper.

So it was with a degree of trepidation, a generous hand on the fast forward tiller and plenty of snacks that I finally sat down to all 150 minutes of The New World: Malick’s take on the Pocahontas story. Not only was it actually quite riveting and exciting, not only did I get to feel for the characters, it rocked in at 130 minutes, a good twenty minutes shorter than the DVD said. This is my kind of surprise*. I can’t say it left me wanting more, but it left me sated filmically, and was a solid success in my book. Whilst it doesn’t quite reach the heights of the “Happy, Happy Turkey Day” dramatisation of similar events from Addams Family Values, The New World is the films film of Malick’s I have actually liked.

(I love the internets. You can find all sorts of weird stuff.)

And so to Scorsese, who not only made a remake, but brought it in at a good half hour shorter than The Aviator. It was still too long of course, but made a nice companion piece to Infernal Affairs (fluffing everying IA did well, and improving everything IA did badly).

Of course both of these films are still over two hours, and flabby in the extreme. I can’t think of a film over two hours which I really liked. Brokeback Mountain was okay, King Kong was a comfy place for a sleep, and as for the double bladder whammy of Pirates and Superman, I can see why people take the big cups of coke into the cinema now. To fend of dehydration and to have somewhere to pish. The only possible exception to this rule is Munich, and possibly Casino Royale, which suggests that there is something about Daniel Craig which makes a cinema slightly more bearable, and they could both have lost half an hour without noticing. So if you want a return to form, economy is the rule.

*Apparently the US cineam release was 130 mins. The UK cinema release was 150 mins. But the UK DVD release appears to be the US theatrical release. Which probably lops three seconds off of each scene and nothing else.