The Paperboy Reviews
* Make do with the linguistic mistakes. I MAY rewrite it properly in leisure.
I actually got this expecting a bad movie, but it's not at all. Mostly it's a thriller, but it's also a coming of age with Zac Efron's character and dysfunctional families (his relationship with his brother. Matthew McConaughey - excessively slimy here).
Naive reporter Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) heads back to his home town of Lately, where he's determined to exonerate convict Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), who awaits execution on death row for the supposed murder of a local Sheriff. Ward is accompanied by his brother Jack (Zac Efron), ambitious colleague Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) and flashy seductress Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) - who has a fetish for incarcerated men and Van Wetter is her latest obsession. The murky details of the investigation soon uncover truths about everyone involved and truths that were better left alone.
This is a film that's very much a mixed bag and it's easy to see why some people just didn't take to it. First off, the narrative is disjointed. At times, it doesn't seem know to which direction it's going in and the tacked-on, voiceover narration, doesn't really help matters. In the earlier part there's humour and it gives the impression that it's got it's tongue stuck firmly in it's cheek. As the film and characters grow, though, it becomes progressively darker. So much so, that it will having you wincing in both disgust and horror. These shifts in tone are less than effortless and also threaten to undo the film as a whole. However, even though the tone is uneven it's throws up many memorable moments; Kidman urinating on Efron's face, Cusack and Kidman engaging in masturbation while 10 feet apart and other brutal and shocking revelations, which I'll allow you to find out for yourself. It's in these memorable moments that you realise where the film's strengths lie; the characters are all three dimensional and the brave cast are uniformly brilliant. Efron has come a long way since his "High School Musical" days and looks like proper leading actor material; McConaughey continues his recent run of seedy and risqué roles; Cusack captures the intensity of a loutish psychopath and Kidman is a revelation as an oversexed floozie. Fine support is also delivered by a surprisingly talented Macy Gray and the enigmatic David Olywewo. It's the very commitment from these actors that has you believing in the material even when their characters' motivations are not always clear or convincing. Another big player in the proceedings is cinematographer Roberto Schaefer. He captures the searing heat and uncomfortableness of backwoods Florida to perfection while balancing the class divide and racial tension that drips from every pore.
Daniels' direction may be a little hyperstylised at times and his grasp on the film's structure is less than convincing. Incoherence does creep in and the film sags around the midriff, becoming in danger of losing interest entirely. At one point, when it should be wrapping up, it throws in further complications and character developments but to give the director his due, he knows how to drop subtle hints without revealing too much, leaving the story's denouement more satisfying than first thought. There's no doubt that this is a flawed endeavour but the scathing opinions of it are a little unwarranted, all-be-it, understandable. There is much to admire. Yes, it's trashy, tawdry and most certainly deranged but it's also edgy and unpredictable which is more than you can say for a lot of studio releases these days.
Sexploitation, exploitation and telekinetic masturbation. What more can you can ask from a film that doesn't pretend to be anything more than a deranged venture into the American south with a committed cast that are game for anything?
This might have been booed at the Cannes film festival but for it's trashy audacity alone, it deserves applause.
I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like this film. I had heard about it around the movie sites and seen a glimpse of a preview for it, but I never really knew what it was about. I guess I was pleasantly surprised. I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, because it isn't a film one enjoys considering the things that take place. But it was good. I think what made this story work was the actor's. Their performances alone made this movie. I think I was mostly surprised by Kidmans performance. Its unlike anything I have ever witnessed her do before. She was raunchy with no shame. She just seems so shy in real life that it was like having cold water thrown in your face to see her do a performance like this and do it so well. I thought she was fantastic. Efron continues to impress me not only with his choice of movie roles, but his performances. He is turning out to be a good actor. I was sure I would never take him serious, but here I am doing just that. McConaughey gives out a good performance as well. He is never disappointing in such serious roles. Another surprise was Macy Gray. I liked her character, Anita, and I thought she was really good in this.
The story is one disturbing tale of Chalotte's obsession with prisoners and her new found love in Hillary Van Wetter, a man sentenced to death for killing a local Officer. Charlottes swears his innocence and brings in Ward and Yardley to help her prove he is innocent of the crime. But once you see how creepy and crazy Wetter is, it's hard to tell if the man really is innocent. I won't give any of it away.
It's a solid movie with great performances form a great cast. I would see it again."
"The Paperboy" is a delirious and kinky movie that is sunbaked but never overcooked, as Lee Daniels puts his unique spin on a Tennessee Williams style melodrama. The theme of the movie is deception, as all of the characters are either deceiving themselves or somebody else, with the exception of Hillary who is quite happy with who he is, even if few other people are. This is is at a time when the old ways are giving way before the new, as one revolution is on the verge of supplanting another. And it helps that the cast is so very game, with Matthew McConaughey for the first time in a while playing a character who is not trying to be the center of attention.
The director of 'Precious' returns with another misjudged turkey. To describe it as the bastard child of Tennessee Williams and David Lynch is to give the film far too much credit but this seems to be what Daniels is aiming for. Instead, it resembles an uncomfortable collaboration between John Waters and John Grisham. A quality cast embarrass themselves with bad Southern accents and the director seems intent on shocking us with moments of extreme violence and sexuality which merely feel like the work of a juvenile creator.
The Paperboy does have a few things going for it. For one, the performances seem to be tonally consistent, and are 'good' from the standpoint that they are all appropriately melodramatic, and work well within the context of the film. Everyone is crazy, compulsive, intense, and illogical. Matthew McConaughehey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, none of them phoned it in. The cinematography also looks good, and the film generally does a good job of having an atmospheric tone.
The trouble comes from the script and direction of the film. While set-up initially well, the film becomes a meandering mess close to the halfway mark. The supposed 'plot', the murder of a sheriff, is seemingly tossed aside for interchangeable scene after interchangeable scene of weirdness and sexual perversion, and for no apparent purpose or reason. None of it makes any sense. It's as if the entire film is just an excuse for bizarreness for the sake of camp. Yet, the film never seems to want to completely veer in to camp, taking itself very seriously. The problem is, of course, there's really nothing of substance to make one take it seriously.
Because of the disjointed nature of the film, and the weak direction, Paperboy feels relentlessly endless, even at its standard running time. There's no sense of purpose to anything being put on screen, everyone's talents feel wasted in what ends up feeling like an X rated made-for-tv movie, with the target audience of perverts and people of no discerning taste.
1.The story makes absolutely no sense
2.Lee Daniels' direction is amateurish
3.The editing must have been done in a drunken stupor
4.The characters are all offensive southern caricatures
5.Macy Gray's voice-over narration is unintelligible
6.Nicole Kidman and John Cusack have the most disturbing mutual masturbation scene ever put on film (and their protracted sex scene later-on is just as upsetting)
7.Zac Efron's performance consists of brooding, mumbling, and sitting around (or dancing) in his underwear
8.Kidman pees on Efron after he gets stung by a jellyfish
9.McConaughey plays a closeted homosexual who enjoys having men rape and beat him
10.The ending is laughable and pathetic.