2020 isn’t dead yet. Universal’s News of the World, Tom Hanks’ highly-anticipated reunion with writer/director Paul Greengrass, seven years after their teaming in the Best Picture Oscar-nominated Captain Phillips, is still holding its current release date of December 25, a position re-confirmed by the film’s first teaser trailer, which dropped yesterday.
The teaser trailer, though just a minute long, is more than enough to get any movie buff excited, not just for, at long last, the sight on the horizon of a big-budget, big name action movie, but a legitimate mainstream Oscar contender. Hanks, in his first Western of his long career, plays a Civil War veteran who travels from town to town in the West, reading newspapers out loud, to spread the news of the day. When he comes across a 10-year old girl, played by Helena Zengel (System Crasher), who has just been released from being held hostage by a tribe of Kiowa Indians, he feels a responsibility to return her to her family. The journey is riddled with danger as the pair attempt to elude some raiders who are trying to steal the girl away.
Adapted from Paulette Jiles’ novel by Greengrass and Luke Davies (Lion), News of the World boasts a who’s who of below-the-line talent, including cinematographer Dariusz Wolski (The Martian, Prometheus), composer James Newton Howard (A Hidden Life), costume designer Mark Bridges (Phantom Thread) and production designer David Crank (Knives Out).
In a year when nothing has been certain, there is something so comforting about this movie coming at us now. A period drama with modern relevance (the importance of the news), an Oscar-nominated director, and a two-time Oscar-winning actor who is perhaps the closest thing we have to a security blanket in these uncertain times, News of the World couldn’t come at a better time to save Oscar season, if not theatres themselves.