Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel
Release Date: March 23, 2021
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Five years after the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks) moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces as they search for a place they can call home.
Please Note: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘News of the World’ begins five years after the Civil War and accompanies Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Hanks) who travels from town to town earning his way by reading the news from around the world to anyone with a dime and the time to listen. But when Kidd comes across a young girl who has lost everything and he’s unable to find her a guide to a pair of distant relatives, he takes the task on himself. Now he must journey with the girl through troubled terrain as the two quickly discover a bond while reading the news along the way in order to survive and enduring some dangerous encounters such as taking on violent outlaws who want the child for their own twisted agenda.
Directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy, Captain Phillips) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote with Luke Davies (TV’s Catch-22) which was based upon the novel by Paulette Jiles, Greengrass does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘News of the World’ guiding along this beautifully detailed period piece with a clear passion for its characters and the journey we accompany them on. The film also benefits from a well selected cast that includes Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood), Helena Zengel (System Crasher), Tom Astor (Mile 22), Ray McKinnon (Ford v Ferrari) and more, with the majority offering highly capable performances for the most part in each of their respective roles, especially leads Hanks and Zengel whose passionate performances really help allow this tale to feel natural.
‘News of the World’ is a touching, beautifully crafted and well-acted period piece that tells a surprisingly moving tale of an unexpected bond and adventure between a lone, traveling ex-soldier and a young girl who has lost everything; the events of which take place five years after the Civil War. It goes out of its way to focus on the beauty at hand and within the situations and relationship it explores, while at the same time never ignoring the harsher aspects of life at that time and the horrors men were more frequent to conduct in the open without fear of repercussions. The balance works quite well, and the few action-oriented moments feel right out of your favorite classic westerns, continually showcasing Greengrass’ passion for the genre while never falling into it entirely and allowing ‘News of the World’ to really become its own combination of multiple genres.
I would definitely urge anyone who enjoys a solid period piece, western or is a dedicated fan of Greengrass and/or Hanks to find the time to check out ‘News of the World’ at some point in the foreseeable future. It’s a touching and beautifully crafted period piece that rarely loses its way or struggles, while showcasing the world and its surroundings at that point with rich detail and beauty; all complimented by the highly capable guidance of director Paul Greengrass and a passionate performance by the always impressive Tom Hanks, with the talented work of each excelling it to something fairly special for the most part and certainly a film well worth giving a chance.
Overall, ‘News of the World’ is a moving, meticulously crafted and often thrilling period piece with a great deal of heart at its core. With a touching story and the careful guidance of Greengrass further boosted by a wonderful performance from Hanks it quickly pulls you in for an emotional and at times uneasy adventure through a dangerous world that you shouldn’t regret taking. ‘News of the World’ is definitely recommended. Especially for anyone who is a fan of Paul Greengrass and/or Tom Hanks, as well as those who appreciate a well-made period piece with a keen attention to detail, all of whom should thoroughly appreciate this beautifully crafted film. If you’re already even the slightest bit interested in this one, it should easily prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘News of the World’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no unexpected issues or problems to be uncovered along the way. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit, fast moving and vastly detailed sequences, never allowing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible throughout. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that looks consistently solid and shouldn’t elicit any complaints from fans or first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a clean, immersive and frequently hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes advantage of all seven available channels at every logical opportunity in order to send music, rain pouring, along with nature elements, gunshots and more zipping throughout the various speakers quite regularly and never causing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is a wonderful Dolby Atmos (Dolby True HD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that more than delivers in every way required of it and should thoroughly satisfy every step of the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘News of the World’ includes a decent collection of extras that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Paul Greengrass’, along with some ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 11 minutes in length altogether) and a handful of Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and include interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are ‘Partners: Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘Western Action’ (approximately 7 minutes), ‘Paul Greengrass Makes News of the World’ (11 minutes) and ‘The Kiowa’ (4 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
‘News Of The World’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
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