Saturday, December 26, 2020

News of the World - Movie Review

The Movie: News of the World

The Director: Paul Greengrass

The Cast: Tom Hanks, Steve Boyles, Helena Zengel

The Story: A Civil War veteran agrees to deliver a girl, taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her aunt and uncle, against her will. They travel hundreds of miles and face grave dangers as they search for a place that either can call home.

The Review:
The days of the American wild west were wild indeed and every day seemed to be fraught with danger leading to people often living their lives wondering if they will see another day. This may not have been every person's experience back then although I imagine the lawless nature we see in a lot of this movie was more common than it ever should have been. Paul Greengrass' latest effort shows all of this in great detail and really gets into the psyche of people who lived through such times in a very gritty way. The movie also makes a lot of efforts to show the evils of racism and toxic masculinity during a time when there was nothing to hold this kinds of things back.

Teaming up again with Tom Hanks, they worked together on Captain Phillips back in 2013, Greengrass does a great job making you feel like you are right there with the characters with all the sights and sounds and textures of the rough and rugged world the characters inhabit and Hanks perfectly presents a road weary soul who has aspirations of living a quiet life yet life always seems to have other things in mind. Tom Hanks truly i the every man and he always finds just the right angle on creating a character that is authentic and very relatable no matter who or where they are. truly one of the great actors of our time and he does nothing here to argue against that.

Also featured in the film is 12 year old actress Helena Zengel who hails from Berlin and has played significant roles in movies from her home country but never in a production quite like this and next to an actor of such prominence like Mr. Hanks. I bring that up because she absolutely holds her own and puts in some really great work both on her own and alongside Hanks which is the case for most of the film. I was impressed with how well the paid worked together with their characters speaking different languages and not being able to understand each other. Over the course of the movie, they form a bond and build a relationship that is so heartfelt and earnest that it becomes the core of everything else that takes place in the story.

Even though there have been countless Westerns created in cinema over the years, I'm not sure if there is one that is quite like this. Captain Kidd, Hanks' character, is not the classic gunslinger and he isn't on some mission to conquer the unknown lands or anything like that, he's just existing in the world that's already there and finds himself in an extraordinary circumstance. Come to think of it, that's kind of a hallmark of the characters the actor takes on so it definitely fits his body of work to a tee. If there's on drawback to the movie, I would say it lacks a real emotional punch at any point in the film, even at the end when some climactic stuff happens, it's just kind of there Nothing wrong with that, it just keeps the movie from being something really special.

The Verdict:
News of the World is a solid and gritty Western that features Tom Hanks doing what Tom Hanks does. It's a good movie and will rank in the middle areas of just about any category you want to put it in.

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