(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

NEWS OF THE WORLD: Tom Hanks is working his way through all the genres, and this is his first Western (playing a cowboy in the "Toy Story" series doesn't count). One thing noted immediately is that the clothing wardrobe is very different from what one usually sees in Westerns. We see the chaos of a Southern (Texan) town getting "civilized," but without the usual saloon fights. Hanks as a traveling news reader serving those who have no time to read the news, or are illiterate, is an occupation rarely or never seen in Western films. (It is reminiscent of that of lector in Cuban cigar factories.) The stories are less the major world or national events, but more human interest or entertainment stories of the sort in David Mamet's "The Water Machine". Hanks's character finds ten-year-old Johanna (played by Helena Zengel), who had been kidnapped by Kiowas six years earlier. After the Kiowas were killed, she is on her own and Hanks agrees to take her to her German relatives several hundred miles away. There are echoes of THE SEARCHERS, TRUE GRIT, OUTLAW JOSEY WALES, and even MATEWAN in this film, which is not necessarily a bad thing. (Note: Texas was re-admitted to the Union in March 1870, so this must take place in January or February.) Released 12/25/20. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4)

					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2021 Mark R. Leeper