Paperboy is a
sweaty sixties pulp styled story set
in South Florida. The feature is based on the critically acclaimed book
Dexter and directed by Lee Daniels (Precious, 2009). Ward Jensen
and his brother Jack (Zac Efron) are hired by the overtly sexual
Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) to prove the innocence of death row
Hilary Van Wetter (John Cusack). Van Wetter, whom Charlotte plans to
his hopeful release, is on trial for the murder of the local Sherriff. Along with Ward’s writing partner Yardley Acheman
(David Oyelowo) they try to prove Hilary’s innocence through the
of the local authorities and interrogating Van Wetter himself.
of the talk
regarding this film has been over Nicole Kidman’s performance as
Bless and for good reason. The actress puts forward a very bold and memorable
that will shine brightly next to her already impressive career. More
her work in Gus Van Sant’s To Die For
(1995) than more recent roles, she pouts, teases and burns through the
for the duration of the film. Cusack is in fine form and is creepier
as Van Wetter. His performance is offputtingly, vile and concentrated.
also his finest work in well over a decade. McConaughey has another
charismatic performance to add to his resume. Oyelowo (recently seen in
Jack Reacher, 2012) is also great in his
supporting role and proves that we should be seeing more of him on
the future. Despite the doubters and his teen dream legacy, Efron does
well with the character of Jack. He conveys the desperation and
within the character all the while looking very much the part. Jack’s
with the family maid Anita (played well by singer Macy Gray) is a
subplot that also enhances the main narrative.
film has many
parts other than the actors that help it become a cohesive experience.
With Paperboy some of these other parts are
what keep it from being truly special. There are stages of the film
tension is inconsistent and the tone uncertain. This gives the viewing
experience a staggered feel at times as the film cuts between character
the main storyline. However, the sun soaked cinematography during the
combined with the damp, desperate feel of the nighttime scenes, really
evoke the films mood and also tie scenes together.
divide audiences. Some will find it
over the top and pointless, while others will revel in the pulp style
intensity of the characters on show. After viewing this film one thing
certain: The Paperboy is a film that you
will be thinking and talking about for many hours if not weeks after
watching. For casual movie watchers it
may not be the easiest way to kill to hours. For serious movie lovers,
film should not be missed.