Movie Review for The Paperboy

The Paperboy   

Starring: Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, John Cusack, Macy Gray, Scott Glenn




Directed by Lee Daniels


Rated: R

Run Time: 107 mins

Genre: Drama/ Thriller


Opens October 19th


By Lisa Minzey of The Reel


Hey Phoenix Film Fans! This week we checked out the film “The Paperboy” from “Precious” Director Lee Daniels, who was nominated for the Palme d’Or Award at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Daniels has a strong track record on bringing trouble characters with intense stories to the silver screen, as in his past works such as “The Woodsman”, “Monster’s Ball” and “Shadowboxer”.

Told through the narration of former housekeeper Anita Chester (Macy Gray), recounts the events of how brothers  Wade (Matthew McConaughey) and Jack Jansen (Zac Efron) met Ms. Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) and her involvement with Death Row inmate Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack). Charlotte had been corresponding with Hillary for several months and was engaged to married. She wrote to Wade and his writing partner, Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) claiming that Hillary is innocent and that he did not receive a fair trial. Wade checks into the query and discovers that there is more to Hillary’s story than originally presented. Can Wade prove Hillary’s innocence before it is too late? Will Jack be able to share his feelings with Charlotte or just live with the unrequited love? Will Wade be able to share his secret with Jack and still maintain a friendly relationship with his brother?

For those who saw the movie Precious, this film is more physically disturbing than its predecessor. This film is gritty, raw, and sadistic, making no apologies for the intensity of the sex, violence and racial division. This is nothing like the crime thrillers set in the south that McConaughey and Cusack have done, where they played the clean cut, likable lawyers or reporters trying to prove a man’s innocence (A Time to Kill, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, Runaway Jury). John Cusack is known for his good guy rom-com roles and even in his darker roles,  he is still  likable enough to pull for his character. In this role, Cusack is extremely disturbing, causing him to be seen in a entirely different light. From an acting standpoint, kudos to him for such a strong performance. McConaughy as of late has been showing a darker side to his acting career in the past year (Killer Joe, Magic Mike, Bernie), but this one stands out as the physical and psychological transformation of Ward is astounding. Kidman delivers an equally memorable performance, her most sexually revealing role since Cold Mountain. Efron delivers a strong performance as the sexually frustrated, lovesick Oedipus–esq young man. The make up department deserves a well-deserved mention, as the job performed on Matthew McConaughey after a particularly brutal scene, was impressive, and even held up under water. Overall, it is a decent film, just one that is made for a certain niche type audience. If you enjoy films like Lon Von Trier’s films, or gritty films like Monster’s Ball you will want to check this out when it opens in Phoenix on October 19, 2012.