The Paperboy Delivers
THE PAPERBOY review
Published: Sunday, October 7, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 7, 2012 19:10
An amazing cast, including Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughy, John Cusack, and Zac Efron, turns out a startling, crazy, and overall brilliant film with characters which are just as complex as the story line. The Paperboy, based on a novel inspired by true events, has the potential to be scary addictive. This flick will have viewers crawling back to it again and again, and each time they’ll be walking away with something different.
The Southern town of Lately, Florida, in the 1960’s is where tension and passion run high and literally anything can happen. Journalist Ward Jansen (McConaughey) returns to his hometown to unravel a crime mystery involving Hillary Van Wetter (Cusack), a convicted man who sits on death row. Ward, accompanied by his younger brother, Jack (Efron), work partner (David Oyelowo), and Van Wetter’s trashy yet seductive fiancé Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman), tries to reveal the corrupt case that landed the potentially innocent man in jail. The deeper they wade into the truth, the more entangled and complex their lives become. The story is narrated by the Jansens’ maid (Macy Gray).
It is hard to go wrong with a cast like this; two in particular definitely steal the spot light. Zac Efron has finally managed to shed his seemingly eternal image as High School Musical’s Troy once and for all. There’s no connection to be found between the All-American, high school heartthrob and the sexy, short tempered Jack in The Paperboy. It is a transformation which, thankfully, he will not return from. Efron has been racking up a killer acting resume with films like Charlie St. Cloud and The Lucky One. To top it all off, Efron has his pants off (sporting white undies, of course) in his latest movie just about as often as Taylor Lautner was sans shirt in the last couple of installments of the Twilight saga. Need more be said? The second driving force to be reckoned with is the performance of Macy Gray. Gray is relatively new to the spotlight, having focused solely on music, but now that she’s in the lime light, it’s doubtful she’ll return to the confines of the recording studio.
It is very easy to make films which are melodramatic and it’s a mistake that is done often. The storyline of The Paperboy could have easily taken that road, but it instead takes a refreshing approach by venturing into the realm of comedy. For a movie with such serious undertones, there are an incredible number of laughs and each joke and sarcastic comment is hit dead on. It keeps the story from taking itself too seriously and the resulting interesting and original movie becomes an unpredictable and outrageous series of events that will leave audiences captivated right up until the very end.
It must be said that The Paperboy has actually earned its “R” rating, unlike so many other movies that have received their ratings for swearing and bar fights. The overall raw quality of the film gives it the edge it needs to balance out the polar opposite genres of comedy and drama.
The only gripe to be had about this film is that, at times, the choice and placement of music makes the filmmakers’ intentions hard to follow. In a more serious scene, there will be an insert or overlay of a rather confusingly upbeat score, leaving viewers wondering if the passing moment is meant to be a dream (which happens repeatedly) or a deadly situation. This in no way, however, takes away from the overall excellence of the completed piece. Some audience members might find it a bit racy for their liking, but most will enjoy it for its realism.
Whatever your genre preference is, let it be known that, without a doubt, The Paperboy delivers.