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REVIEW — “News of the World”

Director Paul Greengrass abandons the shaky-cam to deliver a steady and stoic western tale that reflects hope for our current times.

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

Tom Hanks has made a habit of playing heroic captains in recent years. There was real life hero Captain Sullenberger in Sully, before that he played Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan, and, of course, the titular Captain Phillips in Greengrass and Hanks’ first collaboration.

In News of the World, based on the novel by Paulette Jiles, Hanks portrays Captain Jeffrson Kyle Kidd, who, with a scarred back, pair of saddled horses, and a tin can for tips, traverses Northern Texas towns in the 1870s reading the News of the World to the secluded and illiterate masses.

During his travels, he comes across a young girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel) who was kidnapped and abandoned by Kiowans after a battle that killed her family. Kidd is then charged with delivering the child to her only relative, an aunt in Castroville, Texas.

Along the way, they soften to one another as they encounter bandits, firefights, and corrupt leaders.

Not fake news. Tom Hanks as Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd in “News of the World,” co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

The events of the late 1800s that Kidd shares in his travels eerily parallel the divisive and difficult times we are living in today today.

From news of rampant disease to progressive laws granting equal rights to people of color, many of his stories are met with skepticism by dissatisfied post-Civil War southerners who are unaccepting of new amendments and changes that disagree with their views on race and politics.

Through his efforts, Kidd brings outside views and perspectives to those living within the bubble of ignorance and oppression, delivering truth, inspiring hope, and encouraging change with the turn of each newspaper page.  4/5

Rated PG-13, News of the World arrives on December 25, 2020.

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