Criticism | Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel extol the power of the word in Western drama ‘Relatos do Mundo’

The western genre, known in Portuguese as the western, is one of the most famous in cinema and has been reinventing itself since its emergence in the first decades of the twentieth century. Clint Eastwood, being one of the representatives of this sphere of entertainment, was one of the main names that kept the tales of the Old West alive today – it is not surprising that we see his influences on works contemporaries like ‘Seven Men and a Destiny’, ‘The Hated Eight’ and ‘Unholy’. Now the well-known storylines are giving way to a beautiful and touching drama titled “ Stories of the World, ” one of the bets of the 2021 season with none other than Tom Hanks.

Hanks, one of the most versatile and beloved personalities of all time, is known for several iconic roles, from the irreverent Forrest Gump in the eponymous feature film, to Professor Robert Langdon in ‘The Da Vinci Code’ ‘, to the Woody doll in the’ Toy Story ‘franchise. In ‘Relatos do Mundo,’ which recently hit Netflix and quickly fell into popular taste, the actor plays Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a war veteran who visits city after city to pick up local and national news, allowing to southerners far from large cities and to “suffer” With the end of the civil war and with the libertarian measures of President Ulysses S. Grant. During one of his forays, he crosses the road with an overturned cart and a lost girl in a Native American dress.

(Left to right) Johanna Leonberger (Helena Zengel) and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) in News of the World, co-written and directed by Paul Greengrass.

From there, the story officially begins. Even if it is not his responsibility, Kidd embodies a very fatherly personality who crosses language barriers and forges strong bonds between two extremely different characters; Johanna, overpowered by Helena Zengel, seems traumatized and, besides not having the phenotype of the natives of the region, she doesn’t know who it is for sure. Kidd knows that she is versed in the Kiowa language and understands things going on around her by context or assimilation – like when the duo face a trio of bandits or a city bustling with hate and discrimination. Ultimately, that’s the beauty of the word itself, a clever move that flirts with metalanguage, that makes it an irreverent and unexpected family.

The film was directed by Paul Greengrass, known for the action saga “Jason Bourne” and similar works such as “Bloody Sunday” and “Green Zone”. Unlike his previous productions, the filmmaker decides to abandon himself to an epic period that focuses more on the human than on the events – or on guns, shootings and blood revenge. Of course, Greengrass had previously worked alongside Hanks (in “ Captain Phillips, ” to be more precise), but this is the first time the duo’s meeting has taken place for the benefit of an intimate perspective on two souls. lost who need one. achieve it.

Of course, the pace can be a drag for some of the audience – in fact, the two hours of viewing sometimes seem longer than usual; but all the brief slips are eclipsed by the aesthetic and metaphorical beauty that takes over the work. On the one hand, we have the brilliant, chameleon performance of a film veteran and a newcomer – and the generational conflict, which spills over to the characters on screen, explodes in passionate and touching chemistry; on the other, we have the photograph of Dariusz Wolski, whose metamorphic work is very different from ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or ‘The Crow’, for example, betting on a color palette that reflects well the Texas desert landscape in conflict with and claustrophobic night. At the top of the cake, the icing: an exultant course designed very carefully by James Newton Howard (and which can grant you an Oscar nomination).

Narrative truisms are also not a problem when placed side by side. As the parties come together and the divided blocs culminate in a very simple and practical ‘heroic journey’, we note the protagonists’ epic transition from their commonplaces to a territory shared by the experiences that unite them and with the arrival of the very brief third act, merging them into the same core. The news delivered by Kidd is not just empty statements, but powerful speeches that entertain, shock, engage, and cause listeners to reflect on and step out of the status quo they find themselves in – in a predictable but forceful way in messages he wants to convey.

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If you’re expecting a classic western flick like the ones starring Eastwood or directed by Sergio Leone, “Relatos do Mundo” certainly won’t be your favorite. Here, it’s the intentional verbiage and methodical silences that carry the plot and restrict the spotlight to Hanks and Zengel and the dynamic they build in the film. And, after all, being moved by this beautiful story is just a great way to end a haughty journey.

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