MOVIE REVIEW: “News of the World” stars Tom Hanks (The Terminal, Toy Story), Helena Zengel (System Crasher, Dark Blue Girl), Ray McKinnon (Mud, Ford v. Ferrari), Mare Winningham (Wyatt Earp , Philomena), Michael Angelo Covino (The Climb, All Wrong [TV series]), Thomas Francis Murphy (12 Years a Slave, Leatherheads), Fred Hechinger (The Woman in the Window, Eighth Grade), Neil Sandilands (The Flash [TV series], The 100 [TV series]), and Winsome Brown (Wetlands, Holy New York). It is directed by Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, The Bourne Ultimatum), who wrote the screenplay with Luke Davies (Lion, Life).
A traveling news reader (Hanks) is tasked with taking a newly orphaned girl (Zengel), recently raised by Indians, across the great plains of the west to her remaining relatives, against her will.
I’ve got a case of the watched-this-weeks-ago, and only a sub-par review can satisfy.
It’s been a while, folks. But believe me when I tell you, I’ve been holding onto this analysis for well over a week. Granted, it’s still my fault, but at least you know that at a time, I was watching quite a few new(ish) releases back to back. This one? Paul Greengrass’ “News of the World.”
Another western, another Tom Hanks. Only this time, he’s reading the news. Quite an interesting profession, if you ask me. I haven’t really seen it done in cinema (or at least the westerns I have viewed), where news is delivered vocally by a traveling reporter of sorts. There’s a charm to it, a sense of originality in an otherwise unremarkable feature.
Old man delivers young girl to safe haven. The man’s a loner, the girl hardly speaks. Ring a bell? I’m sure it did a few. But I’m not here to poke at the familiar. Everything’s been done under the sun; it’s a matter of how “News of the World” executes it that counts. And for the most part, I was interested. The journey Hanks’ Captain Kidd takes has some entertaining moments, with enough character motivation to keep things alive. That, paired with the solid cinematography and wonderful performances (it’s Hanks guys… come on), and you’ve got a decent show.
This is Greengrass’ second outing with Hanks, the two formally having worked on “Captain Phillips.” I thoroughly enjoyed that picture, as did most folks, and easily see it reigning over this one. Not to say “News of the World” isn’t good, but it certainly doesn’t astound. The situations Kidd and Johanna (Zengel) encounter are cool and offer tension, but not enough to leave me floored. It’s one of those movies you walk away from and say “those guys did a pretty good job,” but in a more retrospective sense than a story one. Sure, there’s some neat story elements (Johanna’s situation, Kidd’s past, and the profession of a traveling reporter), but there isn’t much that wows me. At least, not to the level I would expect from Greengrass or Hanks.
“News of the World” has a wonderful theme though, in spite of all this. While predictable how things will turn out, it’s still nice to see it unfold, as the chemistry between Hanks and Zengel is good. They hold this journey together, making for a western that, while not the greatest, still entertains. FINAL SCORE: 75%= Juicy Popcorn
Here is the trailer:
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