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Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Review: The Paperboy (Lee Daniels, 2012)
The Paperboy, Lee Daniels’ follow-up to his 2009 two-time Academy Award winning drama, Precious, premiered at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Adapted by Daniels and Pete Dexter from Dexter’s 1995 novel ‘The Paperboy’, this sordid Southern backwater murder mystery is set in South Florida in the late 1960’s. A conceptually trashy work, it poses a lot of challenging questions, and amidst dealing with wrongful justice, civil rights and racism, sexually charged assault, professional betrayal, cold-blooded murder and inappropriate relationships it harks back to sleazy 70’s exploitation films and surprisingly centres focus on a young man’s journey from a directionless paper delivery boy to our increasingly hardened hero.
When Jack Jansen’s (Zac Efron) older brother Ward (Matthew McConaughey), an investigative reporter for the Miami Times, returns to their hometown with his British associate Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo), he is hired to be their driver and assistant. At the behest of Ms. Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) they are investigating the murder of a sheriff and attempting to prove that Hillary Van Wetten (John Cusack), a repulsive swamp-dweller, was wrongly convicted. Charlotte has been in written correspondence with Hillary and has since fallen in love. Inexplicably, as they are yet to meet one another (her visits allow the others to tag along and make inquiries), they have made plans to marry as soon as he is released. But, as the investigation ensues, it is clear that there are some sinister secrets tied to this case and as tensions rise between Jack and Yardley and as Jack begins to fall in love with Charlotte, he finds himself immersed in a situation out of his depth.