Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel in News of the World. Credit Universal Pictures

It’s been a few years since we’ve gotten a great western. I mean yes we’ve had great films like The Hateful Eight, Hostiles, and The Homesman. But nothing the likes of Unforgiven, or the western films of old. Let me present to you Paul Greengrass’s masterful western, News of the World.

(from left) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

The film stars Tom Hanks as a civil war veteran Captain Kidd, who travels from town to town reading the news to people for a dime. Leaving one of the towns Hanks comes upon a young girl named Johana (Helena Zengel) who was captured by a Kiowa tribe after the massacre of her parents. The only option is to take her to her only living relatives thru the beautiful yet dangerous American West.

Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel in News of the World. Credit Universal Pictures

It’s not often we get a grumpy, grizzled Tom Hanks, so revel in it as much as you can. He’s tough yet compassionate, torn and broken from the years he served in the Civil War. Yet his character has a connection to the young girl that shows Hanks’s paternal instincts.

Hanks will remind you of classic actors like Gregory Peck, Gary Cooper, and Jimmy Stewart who were masters at being the Western heroes. And if you come in expecting a non-stop action film that you’ve been used to with past Greengrass films like the Bourne films you will be pleasantly surprised.

News Of The World Is About The Journey

Tom Hanks News of the World. Credit Universal Pictures

On his journey to take Johana home we see the showman like performance the Captain uses to enthrall the townsfolk with the news. Well worth the ten cents he charges. Along the way we see the grizzled Captain showing his military instincts during a beautiful gunfight with three men who are after Johana.

I cannot stress this enough, Greengrass does such a beautiful job taking you on this journey while focusing on sweeping vista shots. Cinematographer Dariusz Wolski shows you how dangerously beautiful the west can be with his gorgeous compositions.

Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel in News of the World. Credit Universal Pictures

This story first and foremost is a beautiful showing of friendship and trust. You believe the relationship that that Captain and Johana have thru out the film, even more so at the climax.

It’s a damn shame this film will not get the proper theatrical treatment it deserves. It deserves to be enjoyed on the big screen like past beautiful westerns. Do yourself a favor and watch News of the World. It’s one of the best films from 2020.

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