CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS 2021NEWS OF THE WORLD (Universal Pictures) 7 Critics Choice Awards nominations in 2021 so it is worth seeing.Best PictureBest Actor – Tom HanksBest Young Actor/Actress – Helena ZengelBest Adapted Screenplay – Paul Greengrass & Luke DaviesBest Production Design – David Crank, Elizabeth KeenanBest Score – James Newton HowardBest Cinematography – Dariusz Wolski
'News of the World' starring Tom Hanks is not a true story but it feels like it. Based on a 2016 novel by Paulette Jiles, who received a National Book Award nomination, this is a western movie is about helping and redemption. Five years after the end of the Civil War, Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken by the Kiowa people. Forced to return to her aunt and uncle, Kidd agrees to escort the child across the harsh and unforgiving plains of Texas. However, the long journey soon turns into a fight for survival as the traveling companions encounter danger at every turn -- both human and natural.
When Tom Hanks stars in any film it's taken to another level. Paul Greengrass (United 93) directs. Hanks and Greengrass have worked together before on the great movie 'Captain Phillip.' Greengrass also is behind three of the Bourne movies with Matt Damon.
So here is the story: The film is set in 1870 in Wichita Falls, North Texas. Hanks plays a civil war veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd bringing townspeople the latest news when information was delivered by a person, in person, in town halls. Back then, a man would travel from town to town announcing the news, everything from government developments, transportation and health news. Kidd collects newspapers from across the country and charges 10 cents to hear the news. The announcements are a live show with citizens watching as if enthralled by the latest film on the big screen but this is how it was done back them.
Hanks plays it well, as solid as you would expect.
Along the way Kidd meets up with a wild young 10 year old wild girl while traveling through Texas. She does not speak English. She is scared. Her name is Joanna, played strongly by German newcomer 12-year old Helena Zengel in a first big role. The girl is wearing native American clothing and is alone with no parents. Kidd finds her at a horrible scene of a lynched black man and realizes she has no one, so he decides to take care of her temporarily bringing her along, until he reunites her with her lost aunt and uncle. As the film goes on, they travel through Texas and come across life-threatening scenes. Kidd brings her on his lonely journeys to find her aunt and uncle but it's about tough travels. Zengel hardly speaks in the film but conveys her very hard childhood clearly with her actions. This is a young actress who is one to watch.
As they travel, the two of them face obstacles in the west. These were dangerous times, especially for women. At this time in history about 20% of the American public was illiterate. A shootout stands out as the film doesn't have much action or sit at the edge of your seat scenes.
Hanks plays it well. He sustains our interest as he always does but if it wasn't Mr. Thomas Jeffrey Hanks, I am not sure you would stick around riveted the entire time if you were watching it on TV but that said, Hanks is one of the best, no matter what he takes on. News of the World is streaming on Netflix as of February 10.
Greegrass does a great job at recreating 1870. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (The Martian.) does a great job with the western scenes and time travel. Australian Luke Davies (Lion) and Greengrass do a great job of adapting the book for the screen.