Uk-based writer Luke Grima has kindly offered to review the new Nicole Kidman & Zac Efron film The Paperboy for us. The Paperboy played at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival and received very mixed reactions. It comes out in limited release in Australia on February 28. Thanks Luke for reviewing the film! Be sure to check out Luke’s writing at his own site, Wanna Go To The Movies?
Check out Luke’s review of The Paperboy after the jump [Ed]
The Paperboy is an American thriller/drama film that’s set around the deep Everglades of 1960’s southern Florida. The film is directed by Lee Daniels (who brought us Precious) and stars Zac Efron (who plays sexually frustrated Jack Jansen), Matthew McConaughey (investigative reporter Ward Jansen), Nicole Kidman (who plays the trashy death-row lover), David Oyelowo (Ward’s right hand man Yardley Acheman) and John Cusack (death-row resident Hillary Van Wetter). The story which pans out is that of Hillary Van Wetter and the killing of a bent local sheriff in the small backwater town that’s a self-proclaimed “shit-hole”?. Did Hillary commit the murder, or was he framed?
The Paperboy is a film that has attracted a bit of attention, and most of it not for the right reasons. It’s had more negative press than I had imagined, but after seeing it I honestly can’t see what is wrong with it. To me, The Paperboy is precisely what it intends to be; a southern scuzz-filled story that happily wallows in its own filthy sweat. Honestly, after seeing this you’ll want to have a shower.
The film itself is pretty slowly paced, but that complemented the sweltering southern feel. I mean, if it was that hot you wouldn’t be rushing around either. The story is very ropey, I’m not going to deny that, but it has enough to string things together. Throughout we have Anita (Macy Gray) who is the black housekeeper who narrates key points; she’s extremely good and is the glue that holds the film together.
Zac Efron is suitably dependable — I can’t really comment on performances to compare as I think this is the first Efron film I’ve seen. But in this I was reasonably impressed with his role. I thought his chemistry with McConaughey was one of the highlights, and I believed completely in their brotherly bond. Talking of McConaughey, it’s strange now that all I can say about the man is in regards to his fantastic acting. Seriously, where was this man 10 years ago? Wasting away doing terrible rom-coms it seems. I predict another decent year for the man.
Nicole Kidman is an actress I feel indifferent towards; I can take her or leave her. A film won’t persuade me either way with her name on the poster. She was very melodramatic which, to be fair, was absolutely perfect for the role. It’s camp and utterly trashy, but so is the whole film. She also manages to do the most artistic golden shower ever committed to film! I thought John Cusack was good in his ‘villain’ role and makes a good antagonist. His films have been chequered over the last few years but I think this is one of his better ones.
The Paperboy might not be brilliant, but I believe it has gotten an unfair kicking. It’s set in the 1960s but it feels like one of those ‘70s exploitation style films and embraces it. It’s wonderfully trashy, dirty, sleazy, grungy and sweaty – you simply can’t take your eyes off it! It’s so filthy that after seeing The Paperboy you will need to take a long hot shower straight away.
By Luke Grima
Director: Lee Daniels
Writer(s): Lee Daniels (screenplay), Peter Dexter (screenplay & novel)
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, Zac Efron
Runtime: 107 minutes
Release date(s): Australia: February 28 2013; USA: October 5 2012 (limited); New Zealand: No date set