The Paperboy is one of those movies that seems to have been a long time coming, with trailers appearing over a year ago, and speculation about the movie being directed by Pedro Almovador; after years of discussion The Paperboy finally sneaks into cinemas across the globe.
The story circles around Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack) a man on death row potentially for a crime he did not commit. When he meets pen pal lover Charlotte (Nicole Kidman), she begins a fight to get his conviction quashed, in doing so she joins forces with a local newspaper and book author to get Hillary free.
Director Lee Daniels gives The Paperboy a highly authentic 60’s feel, very much like the low budget movies of the era, with washed out coloring, and at times damaged film stock, to add to the feel. From this perspective the moves is a masterpiece. Sadly things go downhill rather quickly beyond the authentic look, which includes the costumes. Quickly the story becomes disjointed, and not particularly interesting to follow, pivotal scenes pass with a whimper rather than a bang, the value of life utterly worthless.
To add to the frenzy of awkwardness is a rather annoying and totally unnecessary narration by Macy Gray. While Gray’s performance is really entertaining, and well delivered the narration just does not quite ring right.
Where The Paperboy will win some fans is in some of its rather unexpected scenes, a virtual shackled oral sex scene in prison in which Kidman gives head to the air as Cusack ejaculates, comes from a very unexpected place. This is later followed by a rather unpleasant sex scene, more recognizable as rape. And at the central section of the movie, is a scene in which Kidman’s character urinates on the Jack (Played by Zac Efron) adds an element of 70’s exploitation.
The Paperboy is a strange effort, it’s a story that deserves telling, but despite the impressive cast which also includes Matthew McConaughey, it feels incredibly amateurish, uninspiring, and decidedly dull in every aspect other than the look and feel of the setting.
The Paperboy is released in the UK on the 15th of March.