Director: Lee Daniels
Writers: Peter Dexter, Lee Daniels
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Zac Effron, David Oyelowo, Matthew McConaughey
Charlotte, played by Nicole Kidman, is in love with the dangerous and crazed Hillary van Wetter who is jailed for the murder of a corrupt local sheriff. She recruits the help of a journalist Ward Jansen and his associate Yardley, a black Englisman, to clear Hillary’s name. Ward’s younger brother Jack also hangs around the scene and is played by Zac Effron in a role that sheds his nice guy image from High School Musical.
There’s probably a better name to describe this sort of film. I believe its a genre called Southern Gothic. Think True Blood or Wild Things and you’re on the right track. This is a film set in the Dirty South where everyone is constantly sweaty, sexed up and foul mouthed. The film is a power struggle in which a series of flawed and selfish characters spar against one another (sometimes verballly, sometimes not) to get whats coming to them.
I have a lot of a fun with these types of films. Their roots in exploitation cinema means that you typically spend most of the film teetering between titillation and revulsion.
There’s not really a protagonist or a likable character in The Paperboy but if you’re in the right mood for this sort of film, I guess you don’t really need one. It’s just fun trying to guess who gets their way by the end. Being a black man or a promiscuous woman in this environment might seem like you’re at the bottom of the social pecking order and inviting pity upon yourself but thats not to say these characters havent devised a way to get what they want and their intentions may not be entirely honorable either.
I found The Paperboy to be a cheerfully offensive and occasionally sexy pulp thriller. The entire cast puts in a good performance from Nicole Kidman who plays the part of a saucy minx with aplomb to Matthew McConaughey who lived it up in 2012 with three entertaingly unhinged performances in Bernie, Killer Joe and The Paperboy.
If Nicole Kidman peeing on Zac Effron at the beach sounds like a good time to you, then this is your film.