#REVIEW: “THE PAPERBOY”
After making a splash at the Cannes, New York and Toronto International Film Festivals, Lee Daniels’ (Precious) second Effort, The Paperboy is now ready for release. Based on Peter Dexter‘s Novel of the same name, Daniels gathers together an A-List Ensemble Cast which includes Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey, John Cusack, David Oyelowo and Macy Gray. Its Story centers around ambitious Writers Ward (McConaughey) and Yardley (Oyelowo), both working on a Piece which could clear the name of convicted Killer, Hillary (Cusack).
At a loss for direction in his life, Ward‘s strapping younger Brother Jack (Efron) and Seductress Charlotte (Kidman) find themselves aiding the Cause, but matters become rather complicated with Jack falling for Charlotte who is many years his senior and also she is madly in-love with Hillary, maintaining and long-distance relationship with him through letters during his Incarceration. The Story unravels for each of these Characters after Hillary‘s impending release from Prison, with each of them pondering Choices and Consequences. Above this, we wonder whether or not an innocent Man really has deservedly been freed or not.
Daniels draws some fantastic performances here and most impressive of all is Kidman who absolutely transforms in a way we’ve never quite seen before, letting loose completely as a Woman who understands fully the value of her own Sexuality and its power over the Men around her. Expect her name to be in top contention come Awards Season as it rightfully should be. Gray also delivers some refreshing sass as a Housekeeper and in addition to Kidman‘s Charlotte, she plays somewhat of a Mother Figure to our Protagonist Jack, adding to the ever-present Oedipal theme in the Film. Efron and McConaughey also must be credited for daring to try something quite different than anything they’ve ever done, while Cusack delivers his best foot forward late, absolutely terrifying when unleashed.
If The Paperboy could be faulted for one thing, it would be that it struggles to find its Voice, with multiple Tonal Shifts throughout the Film. Admittedly the humorous moments are plentiful here, somewhat clashing with its stronger Dramatic overtones. Ultimately this should have been a sex-obsessed Drama, yet it shifts to a Thriller late and as a Viewer, this is slightly off-putting. Nonetheless, my eyes were glued to the Screen and I found myself drawn-in completely to the fascinating Melodrama and outstanding Performances. A Disco-heavy Soundtrack fits the mood and washed-out aesthetic of the Movie.
D Films releases The Paperboy on October 20, 2012.