Title:  News of the World

Year: 2020

Genre:  Action | Adventure | Drama |

Runtime: 118 min

Director:   Paul Greengrass

Starring:    Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Tom Astor


Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom 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. On the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), 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 can call home. 

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News of the World is another addition of a lonely grown man taking care of an orphan. Whether that is a child, the story culminates in a similar manner.  Similar fashion has played out in stories like Logan and The Last of Us. In this story, during the American Western, Tom Hanks embrace Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd in a graceful way, as he travels between towns and read from newspapers. He needs to take care of the child and take her to her last remaining families during the Civil War.

The story progress relatively simple and the relationship between Johanna and Kidd remains intact a larger part of the narrative. It’s a smart story as it told partly from a child perspective during the Civil War, which a rare occasion. The character building is strong, and the characters portrayed fairly well. The sound mixing probably deserves its Academy Awards nomination. The most interesting part movie is the linguistic part where both main characters interact with each other speaking in a non-common language. Even if the visual effects leave much to desire, the cinematography is sharp and adds another depth to the characters. As much as Paul Greengrass tries with his directing, create an uncertain atmosphere.

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Often with Greengrass movies, there is a quick in-step to the action without a certain depth. The Bourne films often feel flawed because of this, because of decisions that do not elevate the narrative higher. However, the pace is good and the tone keeps intact just as it is like you are there on the spot. And the use of gun appears in almost every scene and it just keeps escalating in these scenes. A decent adaption of Paulette Jiles’ novel but it does not take your breath away if that’s expected.

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