Movie Review: News of the World

December 28, 2020

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Initial Thoughts:

I love Tom Hanks, I think he is one of the best actors living today, probably one of the best American actors ever. So it goes without saying when he has a new movie out I almost always go (in my defence "Greyhound" was never released in theatres). This one didn't get great reviews but with a movie pass (and a gift card) we went a few days ago.

Main Points:

Make no mistake this is an old-fashioned slower-paced western. If you don't like westerns that take time for the story to happen, this will not be for you. Hanks puts in a good (though not Oscar-worthy) performance as Captain Kidd. Helena Zengel is also excellent and I think will be a big star someday.

I enjoyed the movie but I will admit a lot of it is just a journey from one place to another along with sweeping vistas and lots of dialogue.  Hanks does his best to make his character interesting and relatable but there are times when is not able to keep your interest fully. There are some great action sequences and there are plenty of moments that make you think and even tug on your heartstrings a little.

The biggest flaws here are the pacing and the end. Towards the end is much too drawn out with a whole sequence of Kidd going to visit his wife's grave that could have been completely left out. The movie looks great and certainly gives you a great idea about how tough life was in 1870 in the US, it just maybe could have been done better as a documentary than a traditional movie.

Final Thoughts:

As I've said before Hanks is so good that he can make a mediocre movie better, such is the case here. I would recommend this to anyone who truly enjoys westerns like they used to be made (and of course loves Tom Hanks) but probably not something for most other people to see. I give 7.5 out of 10 but at least a half-point is due to Hanks. Please don't take children to this, there are violence, some blood and strong language, along with adult themes, ages 14+. I know Hanks has another truly remarkable film to be in but this isn't it.