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News of the World (2020)

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I was talking to a colleague after watching this, and I had forgotten that Paul Greengrass directed 22 July, another movie that I seemed to like more than others. (I liked News of the World a lot). The connection I see between the two is that they both have to do with the lingering effects of trauma and violence. 

My colleague said he liked the world building of the first third better than the story in the latter half, and I can see that, but I'm a story guy, and I thought Hanks was good in an understated way. Not sure the film captured some of the nuances of the book, which in turn makes some of the themes (like the importance of story) at times too mushy, at times too on the nose. But I was moved by the end, and probably no other film except Nomadland has evoked quite the range of emotions in me. 

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I enjoyed it well enough, giving it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  The final beat was predictable, and sandstorms have been done to death, but it was a pleasurable diversion.  I guess my main complaint is that it felt like a generic Tom Hanks role - good chap who will do the right thing competently, as in Sully or Captain Philips.  As such, he looks exactly the same throughout these films, only with different costumes:  same worried brow, same urgent verbiage spoken in low tones.  I worry that he's becoming the Tom Cruise of middle-aged (and above) viewers.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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