Tom Hanks is no stranger to blockbuster films. The actor has been at the forefront and starred in some of the biggest and most memorable films over multiple generations. These days though, having a “blockbuster” film isn’t necessarily the same as yesteryear. Gone are the days when we would compare box office receipts to see if an actor was carrying a movie in a big way. Now, it’s all about streaming numbers. And from that respect, Tom Hanks is still at the top of his game. This past week he had the most-streamed movie in the world on Netflix.
News of the World, starring Tom Hanks, is now sitting at number three on the worldwide Netflix streaming list, but for the better part of the week held the top score. Released on Christmas Day of 2020 for a United States audience and worldwide on February 10, 2021, the movie is a Western film taking place five years after the Civil War.
Tom Hanks plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a former soldier who now roams town to town reading the newspaper for people at a paid rate. Sticking closely to the title, Kidd comes into town with a stack of newspapers from various cities and states and entertains a larger audience by keeping them informed about the goings-on in faraway places. This was the nightly news before the nightly news. Here check out the trailer for News of the World:
Tom Hanks’s character’s simple, though meager, life is upended when he comes across a young girl, played by Helena Zengel, who’s been kidnapped and now abandoned by the Kiowa tribe. Captain Kyle then takes it upon himself to get the girl to safety, traversing the Western plains of Texas and through a number of different dangers. It’s as much a 19th-century Western movie as it is about the bond between two people who’ve lost so much in their lives. While there are action sequences and a grand placement within this very different world of the post-Civil War Midwest, it’s very much a simple movie at its heart.
It’s easy to see why News of the World is one of the most-streamed movies in all of the world. It’s particularly noteworthy when you realize it isn’t on Netflix in the US. Yet the movie is so popular on Netflix everywhere else, those international viewers have propelled it to the top. It’s an excellent film with critics raving about the story, the setting, and the acting performances of both Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel. It’s sitting at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes and 73 on MetaCritic. Critics have used words like “charming”, “splendid”, “deep”, “powerful” and “engrossing” with some even going so far as to say it’s Hanks’ finest film. This is high praise for a film that works on multiple levels.
Paul Greengrass is in the director’s chair after adapting the script from the novel of the same name. He and Tom Hanks have worked together before on 2013’s Captain Phillips which was nominated for, among other things, Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Greengrass has helmed other films like The Bourne Ultimatum and The Bourne Supremacy, but these two Hanks films plus the recent 22 July about the terrorist attack on a Norwegian youth camp might be his three best yet.
News of the World might also join Captain Phillips for both Tom Hanks and Paul Greengrass come awards season. With the late-2020 theater run, the timing was conspicuous when it comes to having things fresh in the Academy’s minds. There’s already significant buzz for the film to be nominated and even possibly winning the Oscar. It’s currently tied for the fifth-best odds to take home Best Picture.
And if you think Tom Hanks has any plans on slowing down, think again. The actor is lined up to star in a number of highly-anticipated films over the next couple of years. First off, he’s currently filming an Elvis Presley biopic in which he’ll play the King’s manager Colonel Tom Parker. Then there’s the live-action Pinocchio adaptation coming later this year in which he’ll play Geppetto. Also there’s the film adaptation of Erik Larson’s pre-World War II book In the Garden of Beasts. And finally, he’ll have the lead role in another book adaptation A Man Called Ove.
It’s going to be a busy time for the iconic actor. But there’s a chance to catch him now in a great movie. Be sure to see Tom Hanks in News of the World streaming now on Netflix