Friday, December 11, 2020

News of the World Review: A Wonderful Film Showing The Power of Information and Connection

Tom Hanks	...	Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd Elizabeth Marvel	Elizabeth Marvel	...	Gannett Ray McKinnon	Ray McKinnon		 Mare Winningham	Mare Winningham	...	Jane Helena Zengel	Helena Zengel	...	Johanna Leonberger Neil Sandilands	Neil Sandilands	...	Wilhelm Leonberger Thomas Francis Murphy	Thomas Francis Murphy	...	Merritt Farley Chukwudi Iwuji	Chukwudi Iwuji	...	Charles Edgefield Michael Angelo Covino	Michael Angelo Covino		 Christopher Hagen	Christopher Hagen	...	Old Man Durand Fred Hechinger	Fred Hechinger		 Michelle Campbell	Michelle Campbell	...	Female Townsfolk Stafford Douglas	Stafford Douglas		 Clint Obenchain	Clint Obenchain		 Francheska Bardacke	Francheska Bardacke	...	Wichita Falls Spectator

Release date: December 25, 2020
Running time: 88 minutes
Starring: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel
Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Written by: Paul Greengrass and Luke Davies

Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks), a veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe.  In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel, System Crasher), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she’s never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will.  Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

Gary Goetzman	...	producer (p.g.a.) Gregory Goodman	...	producer (p.g.a.) Gail Mutrux	...	producer (p.g.a.) Tore Schmidt	...	executive producer Steve Shareshian	...	executive producer    Directed by  Paul Greengrass	Writing Credits   Paul Greengrass	 Luke Davies	 Paulette Jiles
News of the World has a really fantastic setting.  Set in the 1800s old west, it really transports you to this time with beautiful sets, costumes, and accompanying accessories to make it seem like you are in this world.  And it encapsulates a very interesting idea that is so foreign in our world today.  With information and news available in near real time, it is such an interesting concept to think of someone who would go town to town spreading the news.  And seeing how Hanks's character picks and chooses the stories that are relevant, and handles the reading of bad news, was a fun insight.  And speaking of Hanks, this movie gives him a chance to do what he does best.  He shines as Captain Kidd, and as you would expect fully embraces the role.  But the role also fully suits him and fits what I imagine Hanks's personality is: an intelligent, kind, and mostly soft spoken man doing great things.  Seriously, this movie is basically 2 hours of Tom Hanks talking, what else could you actually want?  Hanks is joined by the young Helena Zengel as Johanna, and she also does a great job.  Johanna is a wild child between worlds, and Zengel channels this perfectly.  The growing relationship between these two over the course of the movie is a joy to watch.  

News of the World is such a refreshingly different film to come from a major studio.  It has some elements of big budget movies but a lot of it feels very personal, and less Hollywood than you would typically get.  It features far less action than most big blockbusters, and has a lot more personality and heart.  It also has a lot of little touches that make it feel less Hollywood.  For example, the movie has a mix of languages throughout but only provides subtitles for some of them.  It is nice to know that you don't need an explanation for every statement and often times you can get the context from a later statement without needing a full explanation.  

And News of the World has some interesting lessons about family and our connected world.  Captain Kidd's sense of duty to Johanna and how they bond shows that sometimes family is not just about blood.  And the film's ways of slanting and tilting the news show how important perspective can be and the importance of having good people in charge of information.  This film also highlights the power of information and what sharing of information and ideas can do for people.  And although I mentioned that the film doesn't lean too heavily on action, there are still some exciting sequences to get your blood flowing.  But the majority of it is simply Tom Hanks being Tom Hanks and that is perfectly fine. The movie has a few very minor flaws, such as some odd looking CG that pops up here and there, but they were minor issues and also might have been the result of the early screening.  

News of the World shows the power of information and connection in a unique western setting, delivering a wonderful performance by Zengel and two hours of signature Tom Hanks!

Watch it.
Drama Western Action All Star Cast News Stories Newsman Travel Family Love Connection information newspaper
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News of the World is in theaters on Friday, December 25.
For showtimes, click here.

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