Tom Hanks stars as Civil War veteran Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd in this slow paced western directed by Paul Greengrass. The year is 1870 and the Captain travels between towns, reading the latest newspaper articles for a small fee. Crowds of often rowdy locals seem keen to stay abreast of a fast changing American political landscape.
On his travels, Captain Kidd runs into a young distressed white girl called Johanna (played by the wonderful Helena Zengel) who is dressed as a Native American and unable to communicate in English. Almost immediately, they are met by a Union Army patrol who, after checking the girls papers, order Kidd to take Johanna to a near by Union checkpoint to make sure she is returned to her family.
Things don’t go as planned at the checkpoint however and Kidd is now tasked with returning Johanna to her family himself. He is reluctant to say the least, which is understandable as she does seem a bit wild and tries to escape at every turn. The ensuing journey, across a land full of all sorts of angry folks, picks up the pace of the movie. A fairly long sequence involving a chase and a shoot-out will keep those looking for some action, reasonably satisfied.
Joanna soon comes to trust the Captain as he fights for their safety and the two slowly bond. Scenes between Hanks and rising star Zengel, trying to overcome their communication barriers, are genuinely touching. Do they eventually find Joanna’s family as Captain Kyle Kidd rides off into the sunset? Well, I won’t spoil that for you but I am sure you will have a good idea already.
The pace is often slow with News of the World and it is by no means a western classic. But the leading stars do make it a watchable ramble through some lovely scenery.
Runtime: 118 minutes Director: Paul Greengrass Starring: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel
News of the World
A slow burning Western that doesn’t quite set the heather alight despite solid performances from Hanks and young Helena Zengal.