By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
has spent most of his illustrious film career portraying clean cut nice guys. So, it’s refreshing to see him stretch a bit and saddle up for his first ever western with “News of The World”
from director Paul Greengrass
(“United 93” and the “Bourne” series).
Greengrass and Hanks last worked together on the 2013 thriller “Captain Phillips.”
“News of the World,” (Universal Pictures), debuted in limited theaters Christmas Day and bows on Netflix Jan. 15.
The film is based on Paulette Jiles’
2016 novel of the same name.
Although “News of the World” is set during the 1870s, during a recent Virtual Interview with film critics, Greengrass said the movie is “a story for our times.” REEL MOVIE NEWS
In “News of the World” Tom Hanks
plays Civil War veteran Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an ex-confederate soldier and former printer who travels throughout the country reading major newspaper stories for anyone wanting to listen and that can fork over a dime.
He gets a good turn out from working class and poor people who like his folksy and sometimes humorous readings of the world’s good and bad current new events.
One day, while traveling outside of Wichita Falls, Kansas, he encounters a horrific scene of a black man hanging from a tree. Hiding in the bushes nearby is a little girl named Johanna Leonberger (a sensational Helena Zengel) who is dressed in Indian clothing and is clearly frightened after witnessing the lynching by an angry mob.
Johanna is German and was kidnapped by the Kiowa Indian tribe when she was an infant. They raised her as their own and then the U.S. Army attacked the Kiowa tribe and killed her Native American family leaving just her aunt and uncle behind.
Capt. Kidd finds a document among Johanna’s belongings that states her aunt and uncle are living in Castroville, Texas. She was being transported to Indian Affairs so the soldiers there could reunite her with them.
The last thing Capt. Kidd needs now is a sidekick. So, he takes her to Indian Affairs hoping to get her home safely. When he arrives, he’s told by a commanding officer there that the person who handles those issues is out of town and won’t return for at least another week. Now Captain Kidd is stuck with a kid who can’t talk and one he’ll have to protect and look after as he embarks on a perilous journey to Texas.
Through it all, despite their language barrier and emotional fragility, they learn to trust each other, and communicate a bit and bond.
As expected, Tom Hanks is at the top of his game playing the rugged everyman western hero. However, not to be overlooked is his pint-sized co-star Helena Zengel. Although she doesn’t speak much throughout “News of the World,” she’s the real scene-stealer here.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 93.1 FM and 1530 AM.
Watch This Trailer For "NEWS OF THE WORLD"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics' Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.