Part of the problem is that Mr. Malick was writing, and filming, about what he knew when his subject was South Dakota in 1958 but not when it was the English settlement of Virginia 400 years ago.
"I recognize the gravity of the situation and I recognize how much responsibility comes with it," he said. "It's like if you're an actor your whole life you're working and working and you're trying to get into this forest with this big monster and you finally get into the forest with monster and it can be really nice to you, but at a moment's notice it can turn around and eat you. I'm finally in the forest and wondering what's going to happen. It's fun."