NEWS OF THE WORLD might feel slighter than Paul Greengrass’ very best work but it’s handsome and heartfelt and manages to sneak in some very relevant social commentary to the here-and-now. Tom Hanks plays a retired Army captain traveling the Southern states to read the news to locals but finds a new calling when he encounters a German girl abandoned on the side of the road who has apparently been raised by a Native tribe (Helena Zengel). Don’t expect many spontaneous shootouts – this is one of very few Westerns that acknowledges that you had to turn in your arms on entering a new town, a particular problem when you come across an outlaw-run town whose leader demands his legend is promoted by the smartly-dressed new arrival with a loud voice. The harshness of life in these times comes across even if Hanks’ thoroughly decent star personality seems an odd fit for the period. Episodic storytelling and some contrivance is mostly overcome by the winning chemistry of the leads. SSP
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Writer and film fanatic fond of black comedies, sci-fi, animation and films about dysfunctional families.
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