The Paperboy (15)
by Lee Daniels
Released from 15th March 2013
The chances are you will never have seen the tumbling innards of a slit
open alligator or imagined the stench; or have never seen what a shoal
of jellyfish can do to an athletically honed young body; well here is
your chance. Steamy and febrile is only the half of it. Think mangrove
swamps, fifty shades of green, fetid vegetation, fettered and frustrated
ambitions and the interminable strain of not much ever happening, relieved
only by a dip in the sea.
Director Daniels film is an outrageous portrayal of stunted backwater
life in small time Florida. dizzy unfulfilled trailer trash Charlotte
Bless (Nicole Kidman) pours out coffee to the locals and for something
else to do, her heart to prisoners on Death Row. Her latest is Hillary
van Wetter (John Cusack), at his obnoxious best. He is the pivot on which
the action revolves.
Accused of killing a local cop he becomes a cause celebre when his case
is taken up by local investigative journalist (Matthew McConaughey) and
his black side-kick Yardley (David Oyelowo). To much bristling of eyebrows
from the police and state functionaries, not yet up to speed on racial
equality, they are out to prove van Wetter innocent. Ward's younger brother
Jack (Zac Effron) is roped in as driver. He is wasting away after flunking
college, and is happy to do anything useful with his hands to relieve
the boredom of stalking all day in his designer underpants, to the amusement
of the black housemaid (Macy Gray).
Charlotte joins the team and Jack becomes increasingly infatuated by
her presence, as with much tantalising teasing his advances are rebuffed.
She does do the business though by urinating over him in the jellyfish
incident. The eventual prison meeting with van Wetter is mind blowing
- non touch sex is not usually given an outing on the big screen - as
things are brought to a head.
van Wetter wins his appeal and takes Charlotte back to the swamp-life
he came from, excessively releasing years of sexual frustration in the
process. It all becomes too much for Jack when he receives a letter from
her. Forsaking his father's wedding he takes a boat with Ward to hopefully
retrieve Charlotte from the monster's clutches.
Daniels has divided the critics opinions with this film. Including mesmerising
performances from Kidman and Cusack, ably backed by the rest of the cast,
scenery to die in, and music to level any score, there is nothing out
there at the moment that can hold a machete to this.