The Paperboy ***


The Paperboy” is one of the grimiest movies I have seen in a long time. It takes place in the swamps of Florida where it is so hot I imagine everything seems like a blur until you are up close. The story follows a reporter and his younger brother as they investigate the events of a murder that resulted in a man put on death row. His trial and the evidence suggest he might be innocent.

Matthew McConaughey plays the reporter and Zac Efron is his younger brother. They team up with a fellow reporter played by David Oyelowo as well as the convicts future bride played by Nicole Kidman. John Cusack plays Hillary Van Wetter, the convicted man.

The story itself is not very original but the details surrounding it are what intrigued me the most. Lee Daniels, the director, does not shy away from the racism of the time period. There is a subplot involving the housekeeper played by Macy Gray that made me wish that last year’s “The Help” had been directed by Daniels as well.

Interestingly enough Daniels doesn’t seem so interested in the actual murder case. He spends a lot of time with these characters just to see how they interact. Nicole Kidman plays a woman in her 40’s who is almost desperate for Cusack and is willing to put up with his deplorable behavior. Cusack plays his character as a slimy snake. Their first meeting has them reach simultaneous orgasm while ten feet apart. It was intense to watch.

Efron’s character is a former champion swimmer who becomes obsessed with Kidman. They have a bizarre sequence where he heads out to the ocean and is attacked by Jellyfish and Kidman decides to urinate all over him as she heard its the only solution. McConaughey’s character goes through developments that I just did not see coming.

“The Paperboy” is in the tradition of good trashy movies. It seems pretty far fetched but it is apparently based on real events. It is certainly a strange choice to follow up a movie like “Precious” with. I found it entertaining enough because of the characters but I don’t think it will be a movie that I watch again.


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