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Thread: New York Film Festival 2019

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  1. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    NEWS OF THE WORLD (Paul Greengrass 2020)


    A pleasant little slog

    Another Christmas 2020 release, like Promising Young Woman.

    The elevator pitch for Paulette Jiles's new novel, News of the World, just announced as a finalist for the National Book Awards, would be something like True Grit meets Lonesome Dove, maybe with a little Cormac McCarthy thrown in for seasoning. It's set in the Old West, after all, and features a tough, likeable old codger, a troubled, troublesome young girl and a harsh and unforgiving landscape.- Jack Kirchhoff, Globe & Mail, 2016. For the movie, with Tom Hanks, whom Greenglass directed a few ears ago in Captin Philipps, The Searchers has also been mentioned.

    News of the World is a charmer, a sort-of Western of a grizzled stauncher who has lost his newspaper in the wake of the Civil wWar, in which he fought but makes a living now traveling around the frontier towns giving shows whee he's changing ten cents a head to read the news from local papers for the benefit of the illiterate or uninformed masses. Then he's landed with a girl stolen from her German family, who were massacred, and raised from the age of six by Kiowa indians. Now she's been "rescued" by white barbarians who massacred her new family, and Captain Kidd is saddled with Johanna, who now goes by Cicada, taking her down south to another frontier locaton to turn her over to her only remaining family, an uncle and aunt.

    Johanna turs out to be first hostile, then an ally with unexpected skills and the strength of a survivor. It's she who augments the weopenry when a gunfight occurs between Kidd and some bad guys who first what to buy her and then to steal her. But this fight, inserted to liven things up, has been accused of being so slow and dull it's a wonder Greengrass stayed awake while filming it. It's hard to believe he's the guy who made two of the hottest Bourne films.

    A mmodel of mine is Jarmusch's Dead Man, and, remembering that, I kept wishing each scee of News would have something really memorable about its setting, characters, or dialogue; but they're not. This is a cozy Western style period buddy picture/road trip. Hanks is always watchable and relatable. The German born Helena Zengel as Johanna is a hell of an actress, and also so striking and mature looking you think of Cate Blanchett. As an actress too she has skills. Why doesn't se get to speak any German? And how come Kidd starts knowing so much Kiowa all of a sudden? Language is an element that has possiblities here that are mostly unrealized. And the ending - wehre is it?
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 02-23-2021 at 10:58 PM.


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