The Paperboy

"Excellent"

The Paperboy Review


Filmmaker Daniels follows up his acclaimed hit Precious with what might be the trashiest movie in recent memory: a swampy thriller packed with desperate characters hiding grisly secrets. Daniels and his cast dive headlong into this garish world, refusing to blink as they take us to the fringes of human behaviour. It's so marvellously audacious that we feel like we need a shower after watching it.

The film takes us into the steamy backwoods of central Florida in 1969, as Miami journalist Ward (McConaughey) returns home with his black colleague Yardley (Oyelowo), who sparks whispers of racism everywhere he goes. Staying with his editor dad (Glenn) and delivery boy brother Jack (Efron), Ward is investigating the case of death row inmate Hillary (Cusack), whose trashy fiancee Charlotte (Kidman) is filing an appeal. The 20-year-old Jack is instantly smitten with the overtly sexual Charlotte, who seems happy to seduce every man she meets. And as Ward, Yardley and Jack dig deeper into the case, they get several startling surprises.

Daniels keeps the film sweaty and snarky as he delves into the story's seriously dark corners. And the actors all go along with him. The always terrific Kidman really goes for broke here, prowling through each scene and oozing raw sexuality. It's no wonder she triggers Jack's lust, and Efron plays him with a delicate balance of intelligence and naivete, underscored of course with relentless horndog desire. None of the characters are as dumb as they look, and McConaughey, Oyelowo and especially Cusack revel in playing against expectations. Each actor packs every line with attitude and insinuation, creating fascinating chemistry along the way.

All of this may seem totally over-the-top, but it's also intriguingly naturalistic, since the characters are grounded in lurid authenticity and realistically tetchy relationships. It also helps that Daniels and his team give the film a superb 1960s exploitation vibe through first-rate production design, photography and sound mixing, while racism and jealousy gurgle under every scene. The plot loses some of its momentum due to the odd decision to have Jack's childhood nanny (Gray) narrate the story, and there are a few too many twists and revelations along the way. But the final sequence is so bonkers that we can't look away. If more filmmakers were willing to get this messy, the cinema would be a far more interesting place.

Rich Cline



The Paperboy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Thriller

Run time: 107 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 17th October 2012

Box Office USA: $0.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $692.6 thousand

Budget: $12.5M

Distributed by: Millenium Films

Production compaines: Benaroya Pictures, Lee Daniels Entertainment, Millenium Films, Nu Image Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 60 Rotten: 78

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Ed Cathell III, , , Hilary Shor

Starring: as Jack Jansen, as Ward Jansen, as Charlotte Bless, as Hillary Van Wetter, as Yardley Acheman, as Anita / Narrator, as W.W. Jansen, Nealla Gordon as Ellen Guthrie, as Tyree van Wetter, Gary Clarke as Weldon Pine, Nikolette Noel as Nancy

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