NEWS OF THE WORLD – Rated PG-13 – 1 hr. 58 mins.
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Paul Greengrass
WRITER: Luke Davies / Based on the Novel by Paulette Jiles
STARRING: Tom Hanks, Steve Boyles, Helena Zengel, Tom Aster, Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham, and Elizabeth Marvel
Okay, so when you found out that Tom Hanks was about to play another Captain, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, in his latest film News of the World, releasing in a theater near you TODAY, you chuckled right along with me right?! Don’t get me wrong, I love the man, always have, as he has taken on few roles in his illustrious career, that I didn’t either laugh out loud (Volunteers, Turner and Hooch, BIG, or Toy Story) or cry like a 4-year-old before it was through, (Forrest Gump, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Bridge of Spies or Saving Mr. Banks). He’s so good, he’s even convincing as a leading man, which he also manages to prove in two of my all- time favorite romantic comedies – Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail, but as his career has evolved, playing a captain every few years apparently suits him just fine, whether you loved him playing Captain Jim Lovell in Apollo 13, or Captain John H. Miller in Saving Private Ryan. Or maybe you enjoyed catching him as Merchant Mariner Captain Richard Phillips in Captain Phillips, or Airline Captain Chelsey Sullenberger in Sully (one of my favorites). But this particular year, he already found himself playing a captain for the small screen, taking on the role as military sea captain Ernest Krause in Apple +’s Greyhound, which Hank’s also wrote, which brings us to 5 other Captain roles, before his latest spin, if your counting, and which brings us to this latest role, as he joins forces again with Director/Writer Paul Greengrass, embarking on a tumultuous tour throughout the Southwest corridor of this great nation, Circa slightly post the Civil War. At this juncture in his life, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) manages to make his living by traveling around this great nation, engaging audiences with his short stories, and news of the world, told from the many newspapers he acquires along the way. When his storytelling takes him to the state of Texas, he happens upon a child named Johanna (Helena Zengel), who was apparently taken from her home on the plains, and raised by the Kiowa Indian tribe, as one of their own. As Kidd finds himself with no other choice than to attempt to return this child to her Aunt and Uncle, which is where the law says she must return to, these two forced traveling companions soon find that the wilderness, and the nasty individuals they come in contact with too along the way, are making it harder and harder for either of them to find a place, that they can truly call home…
Now, whether or not the premise of this film just drew you in or not, please be advised that this is one heck of a good film the whole way through. It was so good, that I found myself rewatching the screener they sent me, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything important, the first time around. Hanks does manage yet again, like he always does, to draw you into this character, which at first, you aren’t quite sure if he’s going to become a coward, or a hero, destined to “do the right thing”, when it comes to the young child he is forced to care for. But, as time roles by, what else would Tom Hanks do, but to end up being the hero and savior we have come to love, once this film reaches its entirety. I was also amazed too with this film, that even though it doesn’t have a boisterous, or remotely profound for that matter storyline, it does manage to become endearing to its core of the plight that these two people must face, as they find a way to make the best of more than one “bad situation”, ultimately finding their way to great happiness, when they realize they were destined to be together to journey throughout this life.
And as Hanks brings you into this film with another fabulously acted role for the big screen, be prepared too to take in the fabulous performance of youngster Helena Zengel, as she manages to express the pain and agony, she has had to endure throughout her short life thus far, sometimes without any dialogue at all. You will ultimately find that News of the World, is a heartfelt family centric film, that engages your senses to the harsh realities of days gone by, all while refreshing your faith in humanity, which makes for the perfect ending to the year we’ve all long endured. Believe me when I tell you that Hanks is till on top of his game, giving another “Write home about”, performance as one of the most endearing and profound actors of this generation, thus causing me to suggest that you gather your own family together, and head out to a theater near you to catch News of the World, as it’s genuineness throughout, and picturesque beauty at times too, will speak volumes to your soul.