Filmmaker Paul Greengrass is right. Tom Hanks is taken for granted.
“I think people almost take him for granted at this point because he is always so consistently good,”
“I know I’m biased but I think it’s one of his very best performances.”
News Of The World
This work being described by Greengrass in the News of the World, as Captain Jefferson Kidd, a veteran and a leading 1870 post-Civil War Texas, a time and place filled with “grief and pain”. Kidd meets a young girl who is being reunited with her German immigrant family after being abducted by a Native American nation some years ago.
Greengrass directed the film from a screenplay he and Australian Luke Davies based on Paulette Jiles’ novel.
It is an honest, subtle and practical play from Hanks, an actor whose range from slapstick comedy to sombre dramas has cemented him as one of the most lauded thespians of his and any generation.
Hanks brings an undeniable screen presence to News of the World, a handsome movie he carries in all the scenes, with little talk. It’s Hanks’ magnetism Greengrass knows he can depend on – just point the camera at Hanks and you know he’ll bring the goods.
News of the World is the second time British filmmaker Greengrass has worked with Hanks.
The first was the Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips, in which Hanks played the titular role.
After 40 years in the industry, it is hard to believe that the film is Hanks’ first Western, a genre Greengrass professes a great affinity for, especially the work of John Ford who made The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Vance.
“If you stop to think about [playing in the same sandbox as Ford], it’s intimidating because he’s one of the greatest filmmakers that ever lived,” Greengrass says. “You do have a feeling of climbing up on a giant’s shoulders.
“We were setting up a shot and the sun was going down, the light just looked gorgeous and we had a discussion about how it looked like a John Ford scene. We all felt the ghost of John Ford out there, but you’ve got to be inspired by it and not intimidated by it.”
Greengrass’ Versatile Career
Greengrass began his career as a TV journalist and documentary before entering the film Resurrection and The Theory of Flight.
But over the past two decades, he has been linked to two types of films – high-octane action thrillers such as the Bourne Ultimatum and the dramatisations of calamitous moments in history such as the 9/11 film United 93, the Norwegian mass shooting in 22 July and Bloody Sunday, based on the 1972 Northern Ireland shootings.
News of the World marks a stark departure for Greengrass. For one thing, it doesn’t have any of the heart-thumping handheld camera work that’s become signature of his features, a technique rooted in his documentary beginnings.
News of the World is a meditative and reflective film in which many scenes involve little more than two characters moving through an open landscape in silence