Netflix’s News of the World is a Strong Western Drama

Julien Neaves, Editor

Plot: When a Civil War veteran and travelling newspaper reader finds a young German girl who had been raised by Indians he reluctantly undertakes a journey to reunite her with her relatives. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Paulette Giles.

Review: You want to watch a Western? But you don’t watch Westerns. This was my wife’s response when I suggested we check out News of the World. And yeah, of all the movie genres Westerns are not my favourite. There are a few I love, like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Unforgiven, Silverado and Tombstone, but, unlike my father, I can’t sit all day watching them. But I enjoy a good film regardless of genre, and this one has the venerable Tom Hanks in it, so that was extra encouragement.

When you’re about to drop a great headline from The National Enquirer

And Hanks’s performance is easily the highlight of the film. He infuses the stoic Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd with so much weathered wisdom, warmth and humanity that it is like an acting masterclass. And he has a magical chemistry with young actress Helena Zengel, who also does commendable work as the wild, fish-out-of-water Johanna Leonberger. Their surrogate father/daughter relationship is the heart of the film and it beats strongly throughout.

Another strong aspect of the film is some rustically beautiful cinematography by Dariusz Wolksi (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, The Crow, Dark City). The pacing is a patient one but director Paul Greengrass (Bourne franchise, Captain Phillips which starred Hanks) always ensures something is happening to keep the viewer interested.

What do your elf eyes see?

A fair warning though, this film is more drama than Western, and anyone expecting action on the scale of True Grit would be disappointed. There is some action, including a very well done set-piece, but News of the World is more interested in rumination than rifles, building character than blazing guns.

Though I may have wanted a bit more gunplay (what? I like gunplay) the film is a well-made and touching drama with another superb Tom Hanks performance.

Editor Jules’s Score: 8 out of 10

For Senior Writer Sommer’s review of Western drama No Man’s Land you can click here. Or for more Tom Hanks you can check out Featured Writer Alice’s review of WWII naval epic Greyhound here.

B0FC059B-BBEE-47CF-90E4-D588C1BACD93 Julien “Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. I can also be found posting about TV and movie memes, news and trailers on Facebook at Movieville. And to stay on top of all Redmangoreviews articles you can like and follow us on Facebook here.