Universal’s western drama News of the World, which got a limited release in US theatres over Christmas, is heading worldwide next week thanks to Netflix picking it up for international distribution. I’m a huge western fan, so I’m excited to see this heading to the big red streaming machine.
The movie reunites the Captain Phillips pairing of Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass, which last time they collaborated it saw them rack up six Oscar nominations so I think it’s fair to say that expectations are high. Greengrass also co-wrote the screenplay with Luke Davies (Lion), and it’s based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles.
The lengthy official plot synopsis is as follows:
Five years after the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a veteran of three wars, now moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news of presidents and queens, glorious feuds, devastating catastrophes, and gripping adventures from the far reaches of the globe.
In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with Johanna (Helena Zengel), a 10-year-old taken in by the Kiowa people six years earlier and raised as one of their own. Johanna, hostile to a world she’s never experienced, is being returned to her biological aunt and uncle against her will.
Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.
Let’s take a look:
This looks like a superb drama that’s really all about finding your place in a world that’s become hostile and unfamiliar to you. Hanks looks like he’s delivering an excellent performance, I don’t think he’s capable of anything less, and German actress Helena Zengel (making her English-language feature debut) matches him step-for-step as they slowly begin to bond. The harsh world they inhabit is also beautifully realised and shot, so their journey home is sure to be riveting.
What do you think?
News of the World will debut on Netflix on 10 February. It also stars Michael Covino, Fred Hechinger, Neil Sandilands, Thomas Francis Murphy, and Mare Winningham.
Last Updated: February 2, 2021