- Gareth Crook
News of the World (2020) - 6/10
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
I know this will sound blasphemous to some, but not everything Tom Hanks is in is good. Hanks though tends to be pretty good in everything he’s in. Here he’s Captain Kidd, a civil war veteran who rides around the country in the late 1800s, speaking publicly to deliver the news. He reads the papers so you don’t have to. He’s as much entertainment as a source of societal information. He’s Tom Hanks after all. Not one to shy away from an adventure either, it’s not long before he runs into Johanna (Helena Zengel) a young girl who’s been living with an Indian tribe having been kidnapped and now being returned to her blood relatives. Or at least she was until her ride was ambushed. Step in Tom, I mean Captain Kidd who takes it on to deliver the girl, along with the news. She’s reluctant though, liking the Indian life she’s come to know. I can see why frankly, the Wild West although spectacular looking is, well... wild. Especially here in Texas, with the gun toting, slave owning dipshits. The Indians are the civil ones. This is a slow world and Paul Greengrass who’s in charge here controls the pace well, with a sense of honesty. They’ve got 400 miles to cover, ample time for Johanna to soften to the Hanks charm. As you’d imagine there’s some beautiful scenery and Greengrass really does milk it for all its dusty open vistas worth. It’s a touch predicable though. Danger on the road, our two travellers bonding in the face of bandits, shoot outs, runaway horses, sandstorms and power hungry cowboys seeking to claim high station in the wake of the war. It does get fraught, but always with a confidence that good will triumph, that brains and good nature are what’s really required. That the news will be read and after all, information is power. It’s a little bit woolly in places, but it’s simple and charming. It’s not great, but Hanks doesn’t disappoint and Zengal is very good in what’s almost a none speaking role. Worth a watch if you like calm drama with a touch of adventure.