Life & Culture

Film review: News of the World

This Netflix western is beautifully acted.


Writer director Paul Greegrass (the Jason Bourne franchise) is reunited with his Captain Philips star Tom Hanks in this handsomely acted and engaging adaptation of Paulette Jiles' 2016 novel of the same name. Produced by Netflix, News Of The World is a tense and atmospheric Western which also stars young German actress Helene Zengel who impressed greatly in Nora Fingscheidt's critically acclaimed drama System Crasher in 2019.

 Hanks is at his brilliant best as Captain Kidd, a Civil War veteran who agrees to deliver a girl (an outstanding turn by Zengel) taken by the Kiowa people years ago, to her family. As they travel hundreds of miles across the Wild West, the duo face grave dangers and a hostile environment, but quickly learn to rely on each other to survive the journey.

Greegrass presents a beautifully crafted, no frills adventure which often feels like an homage to Westerns of yore. There will be obvious parallels drawn with Ford’s The Searchers or Hathaway’s True Grit, however the film’s unique selling point is its ability to put an inspired contemporary twist on an admittedly tried and tested formula.

Parallels are also to be drawn between the film’s historical setting and the current socio-political landscape of a post-Trump era where telling the truth and spreading it can be viewed as an act of unbridled heroism. All in all, a genuinely thrilling and gorgeously acted adaptation.

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