In his forty-one year long career in Hollywood so far, Tom Hanks has never ventured into the Western genre, surprising as he has just about covered every other genre there is. It might have needed something big to pull him into doing one and the lure of working with Paul Greengrass again, who he worked so brilliantly with before in Captain Phillips, may have just been the convincing he needed. 

News of the World sees Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks), a Civil War veteran, agreeing to deliver Johanna (Helena Zengel) to her last remaining family. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two will face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place that either can call home.

Paul Greengrass comes to life as a filmmaker when telling a story about people in desperate situations, his work on United 93 being incredibly moving and his first collaboration with Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips getting the best out of the acting great after a near decade of nothing to really shout home about. With News of the World, Greengrass and Hanks combine again to create one of the best Westerns of recent memory.

Greengrass, along with Luke Davies, has written a film that makes the most of its dialogue, important to the film as a whole keeping the language barrier between the two main characters throughout. It's a wonderfully written relationship that shows them bond over the course of the film, Hanks' Kidd becoming the latest father figure in Johanna's young yet incredibly tragic life. Throw in a typically emotional score from James Newton Howard and some great cinematography from Dariusz Wolski, particularly the beautiful shots of the vast landscape, and you have yourself the makings of a fine Western.

Coming to the performances, News of the World features a really good performance from Tom Hanks, who only seems to be getting better with age. The once baby-faced and clean-cut Hanks now brings a gruffness and experience to every role that serves the films incredibly well. He's upstaged by newcomer Helena Zengel as Johanna on this occasion though, her performance being one of few words but able to convey so many emotions without them, and believe me her character has lived a traumatic life. She's amongst the nominees for the Golden Globes and don't be surprised to see her nominated for an Academy Award down the line.

There's moments of tension and a swell of emotion in other moments, making News of the World a worthy entrant into the Western genre. Paul Greengrass is always a filmmaker whose work I will look out for and most definitely any films he does with Tom Hanks moving forward.

News of the World will be available on Netflix from February 10th.

Verdict: ★★★★


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