I recall seeing the trailer for this film I think around a month ago and I knew from that point that this was a film that would be worth a watch. The story seems interesting and the cast was solid, so fast forward to Wednesday this week when I went to watch this film in the cinema and I have to say it was definitely something I’m not going to forget anytime soon.
So the story of The Paperboy is set in the 1960s in Moat County, Florida. Here we have Jack Jansen; he’s the son of the local newspaper publisher and has the job of paperboy after he’s kicked out of college. But things change when Jack’s journalist brother Ward arrives from Miami hot on the trail of a story that could make his career. Along with writing partner Yardley, Ward wants to uncover the mystery behind inmate Hilary Van Wetter’s imprisonment and prove him innocent. And then there’s Charlotte Bless, a woman obsessed with prison-based men who has now taken a liking to Hilary who tags along with Ward and Yardley and supply them with information relating to the investigation. With Jack now as their driver, the four of them travel to prison to meet Hilary and try to help his situation. However what follows is a tale of mixed emotions, sexual tension, mystery and deceit.
I thought the story in this film was very intriguing and at no point was I bored, as the plot advanced and thickened I just wanted to know more about each of the characters. Elements of the story and characters really fell into the area of strange and disturbing territories for me. Some of the secrets and mysterious behind these different situations are pretty unexpected and dramatic. There is one now-infamous scene in the film that everyone talks about. I won’t say what it is but it is a scene that sort of leaves on speechless. Annoyingly the specific scene question was ruined by Mark Kermode while watching one of his videos online, however that still didn’t stop the scene from being strange to watch.
I think the strongest element of the film is the characters as the performances from the cast here is some of their strongest stuff for a while. Let’s start with Zac Efron as Jack Jansen. In this film he plays a young adult with issues in his past and has a pretty dull life until the return of his brother and his first encounter with Charlotte Bless. After seeing her he becomes obsessed and wants to court her, but due to Charlotte’s love for Hilary it creates emotional and sexual complications for them. I think this is his finest performance to date. Now I have to say I have become a fan of his in recent years, while I stay away from his romantic films, after I saw him in Me and Orson Welles I knew he had actual talent. In this film his talent is on show as much as he is in his underwear for a lot of the film too haha. Then we have Matthew McConaughey as Ward Jansen, he was really as this journalist who tried was well-headed and stayed in control of most of the situations he was in. I don’t have much to say about McConaughey besides the fact that he played his role very well and I was impressed.
Let’s move onto the most surprising performance in the film which was Nicole Kidman as Charlotte Bless. My god, what difference from her other roles! I have never a transformation for a role. Kidman was simply captivating as this sexually charged prison groupie who is a complicated and vulnerable person that has wants and needs. You can see that she knows what she wants and tries to keep Jack away at a distance because of his young love for her. The other notable performance would be from John Cusack as Hillary Van Wetter, he was a creepy individual who was calm and collected in is meetings with Ward, Yardley and Jack; however with Charlotte they have a connection of the sexual kind that comes to the surface a points. This is most different kind of performance I have seen from Cusack; it was quite strange and disturbing.
Now we move onto David Oyelowo as Yardley Acheman, he was surprisingly intriguing as Ward’s writing partner. He brought some humour to the film and some reliability too both due to the fact that he was black and English too. And lastly we have Macy Gray who plays as Anita but also acts as the narrator of the film too. I thought she was simply fabulous. I also liked how she was the innocent party in this watching the chaos ensue from a distance as the maid for the Jansen family. The relationship between her and Jack is sweet and lovely to watch, Gray and Efron have great chemistry together on-screen. I know Gray has made some film appearances over the years but this is the first time I’ve seen her in years and I’m glad I did, she does have some acting talent.
When it comes to the presentation its pretty good, visually the cinematography and lighting is nice and there is a use of film grain in the film which I think really worked for the film especially because of it 60s setting. Also the soundtrack by Mario Grigorov was very good at conveying emotions and amplifying the dramatic elements of the film, it can be quiet unnerving and creepy at points, also the collection of songs in the film was nice to listen to too.
So to conclude The Paperboy was a film that was definitely an interesting film which left me with mixed feelings after I left the cinema. I kind of feel the same way about this film like I did with On The Road, it has some very interesting and impressive elements but some elements are unnerving and awkward to watch for me. I still recommend the film for the story and performances of the cast which is very good and unforgettable.
Rating: 7.5/10 (I recommend it for the story and cast alone)
So what did you think of The Paperboy? Whatever your thoughts drop them below and I’ll see ya on the next review yo! 😀