The film has enough emotion and dangerous situations to keep the viewer invested, and the end result is commendable, if a bit dry. It scratches every western itch you can have, and it should appeal to all generations, which is rare these days.
A Civil War veteran travels from town to town reading to his audience orally, but his journey takes a turn when he rescues a young orphan girl and feels responsible for her life.
It’s a long and somewhat predictable road for former Jeffersonian captain Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) as he travels from town to town across the states performing for paying audiences and reading newspaper articles to an illiterate public hungry for true stories set across the country or in regional areas. He carries a gun but usually has no ammunition and hasn’t been home since the end of the civil war five years ago. While traveling from one part of the country to another, he meets a little Norwegian girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel), who has been living an almost wild life among the natives since her parents died in the desert. Kidd makes it his mission to take her to the nearest town and give her to someone – anyone – who will pick her up and deliver her to her immediate family. But there’s a problem, and it’s not a small one: Johanna does not speak English, and when he finally gets an interpreter, he learns that she has family, but in different states, and that no one wants to take care of her, so he has to take matters into his own hands. So they drive on, and he stops in one town after another, earning a few dollars at each stop to make his oral presentations. Along the way they encounter outlaws and would-be rapists who want to take over the local brothel from the young Johanna. Kidd must rekindle his old warrior instincts to save his life and Johanna’s. And even with their mission in mind, Kidd realizes how lonely he is, and the bond between him and the child grows slowly but surely.
A unique, but fairly straightforward western drama from director Paul Greengrass, based on the novel by Paulette Giles. News of the World is a pretty solid film with an unflappable Hanks at its center. The film has enough emotion and dangerous situations to keep the viewer invested, and the end result is commendable, if a bit dry. It scratches every western itch you can have, and it should appeal to all generations, which is rare these days.
The 23rd. In March, Universal will release News of the World as a Blu-ray / DVD / Digital HD Combo Pack and as a 4K Blu-ray edition. The Blu-ray contains several bonus features, including partnering cut scenes: Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel, action western, Paul Greengrass directs News of the World, The Kiowa and Greengrass Commentary.
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