You might expect the familiar blur of Paul Greengrass action, as seen in the Bourne films and in his more verite productions from Bloody Sunday to United 93 and his previous Tom Hanks collaboration Captain Phillips. But don’t be disappointed not to find it here.
News of the World is a different pace, a wide-open Western, with Hanks travelling town to town in post-Civil War Texas, reading out various newspaper articles to tents full of illiterate locals. It’s perfect for Hanks, indulging his fireside chat quality and his avuncular appeal, which increases when he meets a mute blonde child, whom he agrees to transport across the state to find remnants of her family.
So we get an odd-couple, wagon riding film, complete with varmints and shoot-outs, and a comment on the virtues of news reading and truth. All very Greengrassy and liberal and for that, I enjoyed it even if it doesn’t quite deliver the visceral wallop of his usual stuff. Let’s be honest, it’s a bit dull in parts, yet there’s always a guiding intelligence and dignity to it all, so, yes, absolutely worth a watch. It might have been fabulous to drink in the vistas on a big screen, to complete the old-fashioned experience of the genre. But as streaming offerings go, it’s a classy notch above.